Better Groceries for Less Cash
101 Tested & Proven Ways to Save on Food

By Randall Putala © 2008

Copyright © 2008 by Randall Putala All rights reserved For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions c/o SDMI, 5010 Linbar Drive, Suite 130, Nashville, TN 37211. www.grocerysavings.us Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Putala, Randall Better Groceries for Less Cash / Randall Putala ISBN 978-0-9777106-0-7. Printed in the United States of America Book design by John Hreha

Coupon Litmus Test Chapter 9: Clubs. Healthier Meals Chapter 17: Planning Your Menus Chapter 18: Miscellaneous Cost Cutters Chapter 19: Online Coupon Hunting Chapter 20: Grocery Store Etiquette Chapter 21: Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips Closing Notes Glossary Savings Examples 4 7 9 13 19 23 33 49 59 61 71 77 81 83 89 93 97 103 123 129 135 139 143 144 146 . Cards & Counterintelligence Chapter 10: The Power of Rebate Clubs. Real Cooking Chapter 15: A System for Cooking = A System for Savings Chapter 16: Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier.Contents Foreword Chapter 1: What Color is Your Shopping Cart? Chapter 2: The “7 Deadly Sins” Chapter 3: Here’s Your Sign Chapter 4: The “12 Steps to Recovery” Chapter 5: The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons Chapter 6: Strategy & Tactics: How to Win the War for Your Wallet Chapter 7: Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way To Organize Coupons Chapter 8: The Currency vs. aka “Your Check’s in the Mail” Chapter 11: A Rebate Returned is Money Earned Chapter 12: The Economics of Food Chapter 13: Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients Chapter 14: Real Food.

it’s not really as absurd as you might think. The salesman looks stunned. "I want to buy your finest vehicle and I'll pay the full sticker price. All this. Without blinking an eyelash now. for a purchase made once every five or six years that immediately loses about 10% of its value when you drive it off the lot. "my last customer took out a 5 year extended warranty. call every dealership in a 50 mile radius – heck.Foreword A man walks into a car dealership. I'm buying from you". I don't care that the dealership down the street offers a lower price. I won't accept them. he replies. No freebies or add-ons. Most people pride themselves on getting the absolute best deal on a new car." The salesman recovers his wits and is delighted by his good fortune. And based on the way most people view food shopping. it’s not that far removed from the everyday reality that most people experience in their grocery store. He says to the salesman. I'm assuming that you'll want the 10 year warranty. correct?" If you're thinking this scenario is a little farfetched. of course you're correct. That’s because most people view food shopping as an entirely different process than shopping for other items – especially high-ticket items. concocting elaborate schemes to 'work the sales person down'. Are groceries the new “high ticket items” of our current economy? Just look at your 4 . But as you’ll see in the pages of this book. they'll even threaten to walk out of the dealership if they don't get the concessions they want. But I do want your sworn assurance that nobody – absolutely nobody – will pay more than me for the identical vehicle. Yet these very same consumers who spend countless hours scheming and negotiating to get the best deal on their new car. but the man goes on: "And don't even try to give me a better deal. They'll print out comparison reports from the internet. whether it is competitive or not. probably never stop to scrutinize the details of their grocery receipts.

week in and week out. But groceries are bought every single week of every single year. if your money grows on trees or you discover the secret of alchemy. put this book down immediately and go count your Krugerrands! I’m guessing. "You'll Pay More – And LIKE It". Read. and happy savings! 5 . it's pretty much a one-time investment. It’s no big deal for someone like that to dismiss the $40. will shudder at the thought of clipping grocery coupons. "I'm not poor!" they insist. or "Why Pay Less When We Can Charge You More?" Of course. as if they couldn't use an extra $1. I'm being facetious. But the same people who will drive 5 miles out of their way to save a nickel on gasoline. and just maybe you would enjoy saving $100 or $200 per month.000 or $50. enjoy. Just maybe you don't carry a money clip with a wad of $100 bills. and you’ll get the answer immediately. a new car can last you many years with a bit of regular maintenance.000 in savings they could enjoy over the course of their life.000 or more per year. that you’re NOT that guy. Welcome to the bizarre world of economics 101. Is this you? Do you light your cigars with $100 bills? Do you consider yourself the equal of the guy in the ‘Monopoly” game with the monacle and the bow tie? If so. If so. yet most people are PROUD to pay full price for everything from produce to pizza pies to polka-dot party plates. You see. and I really can show you how to do it. perhaps. Does this make any sense to anybody??? Imagine the headlines if we had 'truth in advertising' and the grocery stores were forced to follow it: "Nobody Soaks You Better".40% – even 50% off your grocery bill. They represent 15% to 20% of most household budgets. take a deep breath and relax: this book is for you. like clockwork. Sure. you probably don't need to clip coupons. They can ridicule the coupon-clippers and laugh that they tip more than that to the valet parkers at their country club. I really will show you how to enjoy savings of 30% .receipts. And at the end of the day.

If you find yourself drifting back into old habits. just breeze through the “101 Big Ideas” to remember how to get back on track. 6 .S. I've listed my "101 Big Ideas" at the end of each chapter to summarize the key points. refer to these time and again for a quick 'refresher course' to help you save money throughout your lifetime.Randall Putala Author P.

2. I've planned out my shopping trip to cut my in-store time to a minimum. I want the best for my family and I'll buy it even if I can't afford it. I've reviewed my store's sales flyer in advance and selected the special deals and coupons I'm going to use. I'M IN A HURRY. advertising campaign. I'M CHOOSY. Time is not as important to me as saving money. I'M LOST. I'll buy whatever is in front of me or whatever catches my eye today. just give me the makings of a quick meal and I'm out of here. I'M IN A HURRY. Let me grab the most expensive fruits and vegetables and the most expensive precooked items at the deli counter. I WANT THE BEST STUFF. and pick the cheapest one. or position on the shelf ). 5. but at least I'm bringing home something edible. 4. highest price. I can find some other area of my life to cut costs – maybe. LET ME COMPARE. I'll be out of here in no time. let's determine what type of grocery shopper you are at present. Which of the following grocery shoppers best describes you? 1. I'll easily pay only a FRACTION of what most others pay and my family will probably be 7 . OUT OF MY WAY. but it's just not possible with my schedule. I'M IN A HURRY. I've got a family to feed. I'd like to save money. I may end up with all the wrong stuff and I'm not sure if I'm getting a good deal. AND I'M CHOOSY. Let me grab the highest-quality items on the shelf (based on brand name. I'm too busy. 3. JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT. I'll save 30% or more on my groceries. AND I'M FRUGAL.Chapter 1: What Color is Your Shopping Cart? Before we discuss ways to save money at the grocery store. I'm going to select the finest core ingredients and plan my meals as I go based on the best deals I find in my store today. Let me compare the prices of each item on the shelf.

It's that simple. and you'll lower your food costs. You CANNOT CONTROL the prices that the grocery store charges you. It’s very important. Wouldn't you like to be in that final group? Welcome to the first meeting of "Grocery Shoppers Anonymous". So do it. Change your mindset. 8 . a first-names-only group for people who habitually pay too much for their groceries. our therapy starts with the MINDSET you carry with you into the store. But you CAN CONTROL your mindset about the items you will need to prepare your meals and hence you CAN CONTROL the items you put into your cart.eating better and healthier food than theirs. because this means you've acknowledged the problem and are willing to take action to change it. If that paragraph didn’t resound like a fire alarm in your brain. It's that simple. It's a very good sign that you're willing to attend today's meeting. Now. Change your mindset. Here. The MINDSET you bring into the grocery store is what determines the amount you will pay for your food. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 1 BIG IDEA 1: The MINDSET you bring with you into the grocery store is what determines the amount you will pay for your food. and you will lower your food costs. please read it again.

Chapter 2: The "7 Deadly Sins" (Signs that you may be losing the "grocery game") 1. c. Does your family ever politely suggest that your menu choices somehow fail to live up to their expectations? (Or perhaps they throw their full plates into the sink and yell "this food #*!)@"</&#s!"). You never seem to get around to cooking the items you purchase. 3. Unhappy campers. What percent of your family's take-home monthly income is going towards food? Is it reasonable. If the food that you thought you needed is still in your fridge. they're a good indication that you are purchasing the wrong items – or 9 . Keep your receipts for one month. Everyone is different. d. or pantry months after the fact. freezer. "there's nothing to eat". A strategy like this does not make for happy campers and is rarely sustainable. you're probably suffering from an insufficient food supply. you probably have a troupe of unhappy campers and it's your job as the conscientious and devoted parent you are to address this problem. You have items that you never seem to run out of. A budgeting problem is hardly ever managed by reducing the AMOUNT of food you bring home. and they sometimes go bad before you realize it. High grocery expenses. If you often find one of your kids standing in front of the refrigerator shouting. and everyone likes different things from time to time. Uneaten goods. You get significant complaints whenever you serve the items you purchase. If this is the case. Insufficient food supply. b. If any of these symptoms apply to the food situation in your home. you may not be making smart choices for your family. or is it OUT OF CONTROL? 2. Conversely. 4. Add up the total of all your grocery purchases. Are you experiencing these symptoms? a. you have items that disappear as soon as you bring them home. This is also known as spending too much on not enough.

But something made you want to take that action. item by item. You can adequately feed a family of 5 for a few dollars if you select the right foods and recipes. "how could you pay $X for THAT?" You probably don't want to admit that you didn't check the price in the first place. Your family just isn't "into" to the food you're cooking. and your budget will 10 . It's important to correct this type of eating disorder early-on – and this book can help you. keep reading. so you did. Do you routinely throw a significant amount of food in the trash or down the drain? This means one of two things: a. Your cooking proportions are too large. 5.) The primary job of grocery store marketers is to make you believe that you NEED their product to adequately feed and appease your family. Binge snacking. Sticker shock. The TV commercials you watch and the magazine ads you read are designed by food manufacturers to steer you away from cooking fresh foods and steer you toward buying their the high-priced pre-mixed concoctions. (More on this subject later in the book. but few people notice it. so you put it in your cart. You may not even know WHY you put it in your cart. Sometimes the items that looked so good at the store cause palpitations when you see what you actually paid for them. b. There is a HUGE disconnect between this premise and the reality of the situation. or you're making too many different dishes during a given time frame. Excessive leftovers. It just looked good at the time. 6.the wrong quantities of items – for your family's needs. Are frequent snacks replacing meal times in your household? Do your kids skip the meals you cook only to wolf down an entire bag of chips at midnight? Eating the wrong kinds of food – at the wrong times – in the wrong quantities – can very quickly translate into serious health problems. Your significant other might even weigh in with their opinion. You're cooking too much food. You're cooking the wrong stuff. 7. Have you ever come home from the grocery store and really looked at your receipt? I mean more than just glancing at it – I mean reading it line for line. Steer yourself back to the basics.

If you can learn a few simple techniques to stretch your food budget and allow them to eat BETTER. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 2 BIG IDEA 2: Grocery prices are rising faster than just about any other commodity in your life. and even the signs in the grocery store. BIG IDEA 5: The TV commercials you watch. pre-cooked. 11 . expensive meals. BIG IDEA 4: If your garbage disposal consumes more food than your family. Re-program your brain to ignore these messages and rely on your own common sense to buy core ingredients instead. prebagged. are all geared toward getting you to FORGET about cooking fresh and rely on pre-mixed. but remember that in today's economy you're going to have to work harder JUST TO STAY EVEN. the print ads in your magazines. it doesn't matter what you're buying or what you're cooking: something is significantly wrong in your relationship with food. BIG IDEA 3: Your family is not going to be willing to eat LESS.thank you for it. you either have to sacrifice some of the things you currently enjoy. or find a way to buy more for less. you'll all be happier and healthier. The second choice may seem a little painful at first. Is your income rising to keep pace? If not.

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Chapter 3: Here’s Your Sign
Let’s take a closer look at each of the 5 classic shopper types, and how grocery store owners attempt to extract the most possible cash out of each of your wallets – i.e. how each of your may be losing “the grocery game.” 1. "OUT OF MY WAY, I'M IN A HURRY". You just got off work. Latchkey kid #1 is at his friend's house waiting for you to get home. Sports jock kid #2 is due back from baseball practice in 45 minutes. Workaholic hubby gets home in about an hour. All three are expecting a good dinner, meticulously prepared by tender, loving you. Your approach: "GET OUT OF MY WAY, GALS, OR I'LL MOW YOU DOWN!" You're zooming through the aisles snagging boxes and cans of anything that looks fast and edible that will pacify the hungry mob at home. Saving money on groceries is just about the furthest thing on your mind. Until you balance the checkbook later that week. Uh-oh. "How did we spend $900 on groceries last month? That's UN-BEE-LEEVABLE! What, do you not check the prices? Don't you ever buy things on sale?" Here are some tips exclusively for this shopper type: a. BLOCK IT. Create a 'block' of recipes and ingredients that you can fall back on. I recommend buying a small pocket-sized spiral book. Write down the simple recipes for meals you know your family will eat. List the ingredients you'll need. Divide this notebook into 6 sections and highlight the bottom with a marker to create visual tabs for quick reference: i. Main Courses. List the simple things your family will eat like Sloppy Joes, Hamburgers, Casserole, Chicken Fingers, etc. ii. Side Dishes. List things like Macaroni & Cheese, Baked Potatoes, Vegetable Medley, Au Gratin Potatoes, etc. iii. Snacks. List simple recipes you can make to pacify the hungry mob at odd hours of the day, things like Caramel Corn, Potato Skins, Nachos, Sandwiches, Fruit Salads, etc.
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b. REPLACE IT. Use these blocks of recipes to purchase core ingredients at the store, INSTEAD of the bags of pre-mixed / precooked items you've been buying. As you build your list of substitute recipes, you'll slowly wean yourself away from buying the higherpriced items. Add to your list of recipes by browsing the web. Buy some cheap cookbooks at yard sales, or check some out from the library. Keep adding to your list of recipes. If the family hates it, tear the sheet out of your notebook. If they love it, put a star by it. The more you document your cooking successes and failures, the more you'll save. By writing down the things you learn in the kitchen – whether from a recipe, a book, or simple experimentation – the more you'll learn about how to both please your family with better recipes, and save on the ingredients that make up those recipes. You cannot rely on your memory to remember 'how you did it last time', but you can rely on your own notes. 2. I'M CHOOSY. LET ME COMPARE. If you're a slow and steady shopper but you just can't seem to save money, this description fits you to a T. You compare prices closely: The name-brand item is 99¢, and the off-brand is 89¢. So you buy the off-brand, thinking you're saving money. Not necessarily! If you had clipped a coupon from the Sunday paper for 25¢ off the name-brand item, your grocer would have doubled it, saving you 50¢ on the name-brand item. Final cost = 49¢ for the name-brand item vs. 89¢ for the off-brand item. You would have just reduced your cost of that item by almost 45%! Suggestions for this category of shopper: a. CLIP IT. Clip coupons for every conceivable item you might buy at the store. You're already good at comparing prices. Factor in the power of coupons; it can really impact your budget. b. COMPARE IT. If you're good at reviewing ingredients, compare the cost of buying the fresh ingredients vs. buying the premixed items. For example, if you like the convenience of frozen bagged dinners, consider buying larger portions of each key ingredient, and then chopping down and bagging your OWN version of the premixed dinners. You can prepare 5 or 10 meals in a single afternoon, and lower your cost of each meal by 50% or more!

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3. I'M IN A HURRY, AND I'M CHOOSY. This type of shopper is both finicky and non-frugal. You're the grocery manager's dream customer. They place the most expensive and appealing items at the end caps of the aisles and in the aisle bins, knowing you'll like the look of these particular selections and won't consider the alternatives or the lower-priced items. You are perhaps the hardest nut to crack in the grocery savings game. The best advice I can give you is as follows: a. PORTION CONTROL. Continue to buy the premium ready-made foods your family loves; just buy less of it Make allnatural side dishes to add depth to your meal, while reducing costs. b. MEAL FILLERS. Add items to your menu that are fast, easy, and economical to cook. Put these on the plate along with smaller portions of the premium foods. This way your family fills up on healthy foods – just not the most expensive healthy foods. For example, let's say you typically bring home about $50 worth of Sushi to make a quick dinner for your crew. Try buying $15 worth of Sushi, but add side dishes such as rice with gravy, rice cakes topped with cream cheese and a small dollop of caviar (see, you can upgrade and still save money!) Or how about some celery pieces filled with tuna fish salad on the side? If you're creative, you can fill out the plate with lower-cost items that complement your original menu choices just fine. c. CHANGE THE SOURCE OF THE SAME FOOD YOU SERVE. For example, if you buy take-out Chinese once a week and spend $50 on one meal, consider buying $10 worth of Chinese food and adding some side dishes that you cook at home. One food manufacturer, everyone's favorite uncle, makes a fast-cooking preseasoned rice mix in foil pouches. There are always 2-for-1 deals at the store, and frequently there are coupons for this item in the Sunday paper. It means that you can get real deals on this product. It's fast to cook, and it's delicious. Plus, you'll end up paying 25¢ or so per portion vs. $2.00 per portion for rice from the Chinese take-out place. You don't have to give up the f ine foods you know and love. To save money, simply buy less of the premium meal items and prepare valuebased side dishes to supplement the main food selections. If you plan

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If you need more time. the variety will make your meals healthier and enhance your main items as well. Keep it simple. REALLY. small steps to organize your shopping trips. 4. clip them out and put them in an envelope. You now have detailed notes that you can read anytime you plan to make a baked potato. Chances are you feel pretty hopeless when it's time to grocery shop. really. If you actually enjoy wandering around the grocery store like a lost helium balloon. and keep a small spiral binder to note down what you've learned. b. write down the steps: i. you may a problem. you're building your own cookbook of things that you know you can cook. great. all is not lost. If this works. if you're trying to bake a potato in your microwave. change it to 7 minutes. that will turn out perfectly. Next. Try to get to the point that you're reaching your goal of the number of items in each category. Sprinkle it with sea salt iv. If you can find coupons in the Sunday paper for some of the things you like. Containment is the key word here. closely followed by completion of your assigned task. like "3 meat items". try cooking 2 potatoes at once. The best bets to get you on a more logical course in your grocery store visits are: a. Make a simple list by category. MASTER SOME SIMPLE FOOD ITEMS. and stop there. Take really. Cook for 5 minutes on high. Wet the potato with running water iii. Work on learning to cook individual items really well. Rest assured. until you get it absolutely right. writing down how many items you'll need that week from each category. etc. 8 minutes. and write down notes for this. Isn't that a great feeling? 16 . JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT. "5 breakfast items". If you are this type of shopper.these side dishes carefully. though. etc. You're really more of an open slate and one of the easiest to set on the right course. as well as the things you did that DIDN'T work. I'M LOST. Be specific and write down the things you did that worked. As you master each new step. Poke holes in potato with fork ii. For example. START SMALL. you should be pretty open to new suggestions.

was fascinated watching the 'amount due' total going down. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 3 BIG IDEA 6: The more you document. down. You can experience this every week – year-in and year-out – so you are literally saving $2. Get cheap. The reason it looks so effortless on TV is because cooking is really very simple. I WANT THE BEST STUFF.000 raise at work. If you mentally prepare yourself to reach this level. The checkout clerk and bag boy were amazed at how little you paid for so much food. and you won't always have a coupon for them or an alternative lower-cost option. Since these are 'after tax' savings – it is like getting a $5. When your 'total savings' amount is $50. $70 or more – and his 'total savings' amount is $2.000 – $3. chock full of the finest foods in the store. down. Approach the grocery store with a mission in mind: to show the maximum amount of savings on your receipt at the end of the trip. It just takes practice to know what works. But with at least 70% of your shopping cart items. you're ready for the master class. The guy in line behind you. or simple trial & error – the more you'll learn about how to both please your family 17 . Some items will be necessities. while kind of ticked off at how long the cashier took to scan all of your coupons. book.Trial and error in the kitchen can be a valuable thing and it will help you determine what works for you. $60. and then doing those same things next time you cook.500 or more per year on groceries. AND I'M CHEAP. You'll waste a lot of food and put up with unhappy diners every now and again – but use recipes and cook books to help get you 'in the ballpark'. Imagine being able to wheel your cart out of the supermarket. It will make you think about each of your selections and how they will affect your total. down. I'M IN A HURRY. Watch the cooking shows on TV to see how professional chefs do things. the more you'll save. and stay cheap. 5.27 – he's kind of wondering what you did. The tips and techniques outlined in this book will be like manna in the desert: you're ready to shop. By writing down the things you learn in the kitchen – whether by recipe. you CAN do better if you just review your options.500 – $3.

and document it so you can continue to build on your simple successes in the kitchen. Use recipes and cook books to help get you 'in the ballpark' of cooking success before you get started. BIG IDEA 10: Get cheap. the variety will make your meals healthier and enhance the enjoyment of your main items. To save money. and save on the ingredients that make up those recipes. It will make you think about each one of your selections and how they will affect your total. 18 . BIG IDEA 9: Trial and error in the kitchen can be a valuable thing and help you determine what works for you. Approach the grocery store with a mission in mind: to show the maximum amount of savings on your receipt at the end of the trip. The reason it looks so effortless to them. and stay cheap. simply buy less of them and prepare value-based side dishes to supplement your main food selections. you CAN do better if you just review your options. Some items will be necessities. is because cooking is really very simple. But with at least 70% of your shopping cart items. and you won't always have a coupon for it. or an alternative lower-cost selection to make. and you can prepare an entire month's worth of meals in a single afternoon. Watch the cooking shows on TV to see how they do things. BIG IDEA 8: You don't have to give up on the fine foods your family craves. But you'll waste a lot of food and have unhappy and unfed diners who won't appreciate your efforts. BIG IDEA 7: Want the convenience of 'single bag / single pan' cooking? Mix your own freezer bags full of core ingredients in advance. Learn what works for you. You cannot rely on your memory to remember 'how you did it last time'.with better recipes. but you can rely on your own notes. If you plan these side dishes carefully.

If you're currently paying $200 per week. Stand by this realization.) Step 1 – Acknowledge.. Make yourself accept it. Seriously. your mental attitude. Your second step on the road to recovery involves believe that you actually can pay less for your groceries.. Step 4 – Reflect. If you still don’t understand the connection. and your weight. Once you've uncovered the current negatives 19 . Change is all about visualization at this early stage. write down the individual items that you think are causing the problem. Once you've taken a closer look at your groceries. visualize yourself paying $100. If you do what you've always done. Step 2 – Believe. here is a list of the 12 steps on the road to recovery (with my apologies to every real 12step program out there. and what experiences in the past are causing you to make these purchases over and over again. Write down how they make you feel. If you don't think you have a problem (or won't admit it) you won't get anywhere. It can be a big help. Step 5 – Affirm. Once you can visualize the change you want. You must first of all admit that you need help cutting your grocery costs.Chapter 4: The “12 Steps to Recovery” If you are a candidate "Grocery Shoppers Anonymous". Step 3 – Be Flexible. Step 6 – Reconsider. you're probably going to be aware that some of the items that regularly appear in your shopping cart are perhaps not the best choices. you've got to be prepared to try new things. you tend to get what you've always gotten. seek professional counseling. If you don’t understand why you do the things you do. and what they are doing to your health. Take a close look at your mental relationship with food and your family's groceries. You don't have to eat foods you don't like but you've at least got to try out new things once in a while. What is REALLY going on here…? How do you really feel about food? Examine your motives for buying the types of food you buy.

“I can make a better choice that will become my NEW favorite. Consider using lower-priced or healthier ingredients in your favorite recipes. I’ve always been able to afford it. review the items that you picked up in that aisle. for the NEW me. turn around. Even the best chefs learn something new every day.” When your conscious mind says this to your subconscious. Step 7 – Be Humble. Be open to the idea of putting new items in your shopping cart. items that cost too much. Take a notepad and physically stand in front of your pantry. and 'do the aisle again. Too much change will cause rejection and abandonment of the whole project. and if you like it – keep buying it. Acknowledge that you cannot remake yourself or your dietary selections overnight. These are the "bad guys" that are eating a hole in your budget… Step 9 – Substitute. Start experimenting with new ingredients and recipes. or items that could be replaced with lower-cost selections.' Step 11 – Baby Steps. tofu instead of cheese. you must mentally shout out. Humilty is the stepstone of success. buy it. it's time to look at the positive solutions before you. Were they of the best value? Did you check to see if you had coupons for the items you selected? Did you consider other brands that might have been priced lower and been just as good? If not. Step 10 – Reject. your refrigerator and your freezer. your mind may think of it as a reward. You may be thinking. When you have finished going down an aisle in the grocery store. Find new ways of doing things that work for you and your family. Step 8 – Record. “I’ve always eaten this. “STOP!” Reset your mind. Examples: plain yogurt instead of sour cream.” Find a substitute. I’m entitled to this and no one can stop me from buying it. cholesterol-lowering spread instead of butter. and enter a new instruction. put the guilty items back on the shelf. Write down every item that you probably shouldn't have purchased. When you reach for that high-priced non-essential food item. Now comes the fun part.regarding your shopping habits. Take it slow. 20 . There's a lot for you to learn about food.

Reward yourself for taking specific steps to lower your food costs. If you saved $20 – put a $20 bill in your piggy back for a rainy day or a splurge event later in the year. You can open one at the in-store bank that most grocery stores have these days. and put it in a bank savings account immediately. 21 . get 'cash back' equal to that amount.Step 12 – Rejoice. If you're very diligent.

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She's not exactly poor… Smart. Love them or hate them. Respect what you have been given and treat it properly. yes – but not poor.Chapter 5: The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons The core of any grocery savings plan is store coupons. save! Knowing the value of money is the first step to keeping and building even more money in the future. the richest people in the world tend to be incredibly frugal…believe it or not. You'd snatch up the $50 and celebrate winning a valuable prize. Why then do people turn down $50 to $75. Imagine that you are at a social function where door prizes are being given away. They're the number one promotional device in the grocery industry and you're going to have to come to terms with them. you're turning down the chance to save a ton of money. Oprah Winfrey uses coupons. if I save $50 on my weekly groceries. The richest people in the world don't go around flashing money. and – unfortunately for their budgets – most of them are wrong. When I go shopping. Imagine your name is drawn from a hat and the prize is a brand-new $50 bill. on the basis that you already earn a salary and don't really need the $50? Would you return it and ask that it be given to a poorer person – someone who could "really use it"? Of course not! It's found cash. and more will be given to you over time. REALITY: Only smart people use coupons. Would you turn it down. see if you can find your opinions among these common shibboleths. I know that I probably could have saved a lot more if I had shopped correctly! By the way. and it's your lucky day. In fact. 23 . MYTH 1: Only poor people use coupons. it doesn't matter. Let's examine the top 10 myths about store coupons. They are always looking for ways to save. knowing how to value money is really what made them rich in the first place. save. I feel disappointed. People tend to have fixed opinions about grocery coupons. even $100 or more in savings on groceries? By not clipping and using store coupons.

and not the billing rate you would command if you were in the office.. money to blow on a super vacation.! 24 . a monster home entertainment system …whatever you consider TOTALLY FRIVOLOUS and TOTALLY DESIRABLE.MYTH 2: If you can afford to pay full price. you're very lucky. REALITY: If your spare time is worth more than $100 per hour. Even if you’re making tons and tons of money during your work time. just imagine for a moment what you and your family could do with an extra $2. a new hot tub. let alone shopping for yourself. so take one. Benjamin Franklin said it. using coupons is a waste of time.. here is a huge lesson that you can learn now or learn later: SAVING money is the same thing as EARNING money. When you arrive at this conclusion. and “oh so many” of today's ultra-successful Hummer-driving success stories make this conclusion. let alone using coupons. "A penny saved is a penny earned". I'm talking about totally fun money… money that you can use to do anything you want.. consider opening your mind up to ways that can SAVE your money so you can do more with what you've got. Would you give less than an hour of your time each week to get it? Would you actually stoop to getting out a pair of scissors and clipping coupons to get it? If not. remember Jack: all work / no play… it doesn’t have a happy ending. If you have an easy way to 'turn on the tap' to put more money in your pocket. By this I mean the actual cash you would be generating in your spare time. If your spare time is exactly the same as your work time.. why not just go back to the office for another hour each week? Would that be easier? Folks. And now his picture is on the $100 bill. and you really do work every moment of every day. you're probably better off hiring someone to do your grocery shopping.000 or $3. You probably deserve a break. be sure you're talking about your SPARE time. not me.000 per year. But if you're like the 99% of us who have to live on a fixed income or a regular paycheck.

“I don’t deal with a shylock or a gangster. no” you might say. “Vinnie” the shylock won’t be driving by to break your knee caps. You'll have more money set aside at the end of the month and that can go towards your debt. you will end up paying less in hard cash at the grocery checkout. “Oh. great. If you write smaller checks to your grocery store. Instead. REALITY: Grocery coupons are issued for hundreds of everyday items – things you already buy for your family. along with the other techniques described in this book. Same criminals / same effect: the situation has just been prettied-up to make you feel better about it. many of them are for new items that you may not want or need. “Vincent” from the bank will simply break your credit score until you cough up the “vig” – 21%+ interest on the balance due. View it however you like. and it really does stay in your bank account. you're written in that creditor's shylock book. even if you use coupons. you'll have more money left in your checking account at the end of the day. my credit card is with one of America’s premier banking institutions. It means that instead of writing a check for $150 for groceries.Here's another way to look at wealth and financial status. Yes. REALITY: Effective couponers can literally cut their food cost in half without even trying. it's a nice feeling! MYTH 4: Grocery coupons are just a come-on to get you to buy overpriced items or "weird" items you really don't need.” Okay. You're still on a pay-as-you-go plan. Picture it this way: saving on your groceries can be a valid way to help you pay off your debt faster. MYTH 3: You end up paying about the same. one that will take an immense amount of financial change to dig your way out of. Some are also for 25 . tell me this: do you have any credit card debt? If you owe ANY creditor ANY amount of cash. That's real money. That is a fact. you write a check for $75. It's not rocket science. If you use coupons effectively. Trust me. If you truly feel you do not need to save on groceries.

If you can already afford these things every year without putting a dent in your budget.. Maybe you'll find some new favorites if you just try them one time. Would you turn these things down if they were offered to you? I didn’t think so. You've been buying your favorites your whole life. Then.. or don't like it. don't need it. the techniques described in this book provide a real opportunity for you to start doing so. You'd be ignoring the other principles we discuss in this book about planning your shopping list before you head out the door and really thinking about what your family wants and needs. Use the coupons you need and don't use the ones you don't. I don't know of a single person who would say "no" to getting a free new wardrobe every year. MYTH 5: People will think I'm destitute if I use coupons. Small debt that you start to rack up today will 26 . when you're jetting across the Atlantic with a glass of Chardonnay in your hand. if you don't regularly treat yourself and your family to items like these. But I don't know of a single family who would turn down a free weekend in the Bahamas or at Disney World. Maybe not today but certainly later in life. you're right: maintain your affluent / happy / free-wheeling image. REALITY: If you truly are independently wealthy. But weak money management can seriously cramp your style. need and use every day.. or you simply don't want the nicer things in life. don't buy it! There are hundreds of other coupons available for items your family really does want. You shouldn't use coupons as an excuse to buy things you don't need. and don't use coupons..products that are overpriced. However. will you care what those nay-sayers think? I didn’t think so. Pennies that you save today will compound into dollars over time. But guess what? If you don't want it. Just remember this: all grocery products were new at some point in time. Smart money management never goes out of style. you probably don't need to use coupons. or a free trip to Paris including hotel and airfare. picture the people who make you feel destitute in the grocery store: are they on the plane with you? When you're headed to Paris to spend the money you've saved.

using their coupon to buy their product. not theirs. Saving dollars early in life will lead to a much more robust lifestyle in your future. The grocery manufacturers want MARKET SHARE. Manufacturers issue coupons according to a well-structured plan to build market share in specific parts of the country. the more products they sell. Eva Peron insisted that Argentina should not cry for her (despite being an enormously popular public figure and despite dying young… see the movie "Evita" for details). enjoy the products. MYTH 6: It's unethical to use coupons if I can afford to pay full price. etc. If they didn't want consumers to buy their products. and that can be very hard to overcome.compound into larger debt over time. so this increases jobs for the people at the factory. and increases sales for the farmers and food producers. Let the mockers laugh: you’re building for your future. they wouldn't issue the coupons. and become repeat customers. REALITY: Grocery manufacturers WANT you to use their coupons. regardless of who redeems them. The food manufacturer would jump for joy if they saw you. super-premium items. Coupons help spur the economy. They want people to try their products. higher-priced items. Who is most likely to become a repeat buyer of higher-priced items? That's right: affluent households. They must replenish the sold product. If you're crying for the Fortune 500-listed grocery manufacturers. you really do have too much time or money on your hands… MYTH 7: Grocers do not want affluent shoppers to use coupons. In fact. REALITY: Who spends the most at grocery stores? It's the affluent households who can afford the more 'frivolous' products: pre-mixed items. The moral of this story: saving pennies leads to saving dollars. the higher the coupon redemption rate. THIS IS WHY THEY PAY TO PRINT THE 27 . an affluent shopper. They don't pay tens of thousands of dollars to distribute them in the hope that nobody will use them. Couponing is the #1 PROMOTIONAL TOOL available to the grocery industry.

let's look at this situation from the food manufacturer's perspective.) Couponing works for everyone – it works for the manufacturer who sells more products. packaging. So the hope is that you will become a loyal purchaser and you will pay full-price for the item – this time. This is the manufacturer's goal. they're actually very smart.COUPONS IN THE FIRST PLACE! Grocers make money every time a shopper selects their store over the competition. By printing coupons that offer you a large discount on the product. MYTH 8: It doesn't make sense to buy products that I don't normally buy. The people employed by the leading food manufacturers are not stupid. the next time. chances are high that you and/or your family will LOVE IT. because they believe that consumers will like them. and you get to try the best new and improved products that the industry has to offer. They want you in their store and they want you to fill your cart with the best items in their store They're not worried about processing a few coupons if it keeps you coming back.. they want to overcome any price resistance and the natural tendency to avoid trying something unfamiliar. So guess what: once you try the product. REALITY: Again. They develop new lines of products. No company would incur the massive expense of testing. etc. They're attempting to BUY your loyalty… 28 . you won't have a coupon – but you WILL have the request from your family to ‘get more’ of the product. new combinations. They are DESPERATE to have you buy a box of their latest creation and let your family try it. and distributing a product if they didn't believe the buying public would like it. new flavors. and it works for your family: you get cheap or FREE stuff initially. And when you go to buy the product again. They're not putting coupons out there to be charitable. it works for the store manager who makes his or her money whether you use the coupon or not. and on and on for years. and it works: my kids ask me to buy specific brand names of items that they enjoyed the first time I bought them (brands they wouldn't even know about if I hadn't made the initial purchase using a store coupon.

you're right – you don't need to use coupons but you also need to have your head examined (!). it can be fun. Do you have the very latest clothing. Do you owe ANY money on ANY loan. and a real waste of time.000 per year. Do you honestly have more money than you need? If so. including your home mortgage? Couponing could save you $5. you're right: you don't need to save money. $2. you need to save more money. 3. If you honestly couldn't pay cash on the barrel today. (Yogi Berra should have said that…) MYTH 10: Couponing is hard to do. You’ll feel better about it. Save your pennies. or simply don't care about money. Imagine what your loan balances would look like if you paid down $5. Or. electronics.MYTH 9: I make a good living. Case closed. dimes and dollars now! Because if you spend like there's no tomorrow – there might not BE a tomorrow. couponing will only add one or two hours to your shopping time per week and it can easily save you $50 per week on groceries Plus. couponing is not for you. Do you currently owe a balance on a credit cards? If you answered YES. and save some for your own use. etc. cars. if you have some other method to earn $1.? If not. 2.000 or more per year in your spare time – without working – and it's something that 29 . If you don't mind paying hundreds of dollars in interest each year. Why would someone like ME need to use grocery coupons? REALITY: Few people are doing as well as they could be. home furnishings. and couponing is a step in the right direction. At least not the same tomorrow as today. If you are independently wealthy. nickels. why don't you run out today and pay cash for everything you've ever want? If you could. you've just lost your vote. 4. give some to charity. Examples: 1.000 per year. REALITY: If you do it right.000. Just about everyone could benefit from saving money.

Conversely. Save money on groceries. BIG IDEA 14: Write smaller checks to your grocery store. open your mind to ways that you can SAVE money and do more with what you've got. Pennies that you save today will compound into dollars over time. you're very lucky. You've been buying your favorites your whole life. Maybe not today – but later in the month or later in the year – and certainly later in life.. And for you. consider hiring a neighborhood kid to clip your coupons for $10 per hour. But the ends justify the means. If you're like the 99% of us who have to live on a fixed income or a regular paycheck.you enjoy .. and you'll have more money left in your checking account at the end of the day. If your spare time truly is worth more than $50 per hour. BIG IDEA 15: All grocery products were new at some point in time. this is simple math – but sometimes the obvious doesn’t hit home until you think about it. But weak money management can seriously cramp your style. BIG IDEA 13: If you have credit card balances or any amount of consumer debt. because that is what made them rich. it's less work for them than clipping your lawn. Maybe you'll find some new favorites if you just try them one time? BIG IDEA 16: Smart money management never goes out of style. Yes. you need to GET OUT OF DEBT as quickly as you can. and use the money to pay off your debt quicker. you should pursue it. small debt that you start to rack up today will compound into 30 . couponing takes a little effort. BIG IDEA 12: Saving money is the same thing as EARNING money. If you have an easy way to 'turn on the tap' to put more money in your pocket. it's the chance to make $40 an hour without lifting a finger…or even a pair of scissors… Big Idea Recap – Chapter 5 BIG IDEA 11: The richest people in the world still do many things the way they did early in their life. Yes.

. and they want you to fill your cart as high as it will go. they're issuing them to gain market share and win your loyalty. If you really don't need to save money. with the best items in their store. BIG IDEA 19: The people employed by the leading food manufacturers are not stupid. And for you. They don’t worry about overcharging you. They want you in their store. in fact. consider hiring a neighborhood kid to clip your coupons for $10 per hour. BIG IDEA 21: If your time truly is worth more than $50 per hour. give it to a real charity. and that can be very hard to overcome. you probably won’t make the same income that you make today. you'll feel better. BIG IDEA 17: Don’t worry about taking money out of the pockets of the major food manufacturing companies.larger debt over time.. it's like making $40 an hour without lifting a finger. very smart. Save money NOW while you’ve still got it – and you’ll have a lot more money later in life when you’ll need it more. and they’re already rich! BIG IDEA 18: Grocers make money every time a shopper selects their store over the competition. They're not putting coupons out there to be charitable. You might even say – perish the thought – that they're attempting to BUY your loyalty… BIG IDEA 20: Later in life. they're actually very. it's less work for him or her than clipping your lawn. and so will they. Or a pair of scissors… BIG IDEA 22: Be charitable to yourself by using coupons and selecting brands that are on sale. 31 . They're not worried about accepting a few coupons if it keeps you coming back.

32 .

20 coupon maximum per visit). up to 60¢. then WORK YOUR PLAN. 33 . The battle to save money at the grocery store begins long before you set foot in the store. DOUBLING LIMITS: Find out the maximum coupon value for doubling. Learn them. up to 50¢. STRATEGY. etc. Generals always plan before they implement an attack on the battlefield. Live them. Also find out if the store limits the number of coupons you can redeem in one visit.Chapter 6: Strategy and Tactics: How To Win the War for Your Wallet As any military strategist will tell you. 2. BASIC COUPONING STRATEGY Here are the 10 "sacred rules" of couponing. there are two parts to any battle plan: a. 1. up to 99¢. This is the creation of a PLAN. Think of the actual process of grocery shopping as being like a football game. Players train and exercise for months before they play the first game of the season. and the many rules. leave immediately and find a store that does. TACTICS. They are in excellent physical condition and are well-versed on their team's playbook long before the first ball is hiked. EXPIRATION: Check expiration dates religiously before you shop.g. 3. The secret to tackling any major goal is to PLAN YOUR WORK. DOUBLING: Find out if the grocery store offers DOUBLE COUPON redemption. Let's look at the STRATEGY behind couponing. regulations and insider tips you'll need to know before you hit the grocery store.e. This is the actual implementation of the plan. NEVER try to use an expired coupon. you WILL save money. i. The "grocery game" is a lot like a football game: If you PLAN to save money and are PREPARED to save money before you hit the aisles of your grocery store. (e. If not. b.

e. Look for items that are on sale that you have a coupon for. EXPIRATION Food companies issue coupons to boost seasonal sales of their products. (can you buy only 1. or even FREE in some cases! Let’s review each of these 10 strategy items in detail. the scanner will catch it instantly. Plus. even low-value coupons. Most coupons are brand specific. If your coupon is expired. CLIP EVERYTHING. flavors and variations of the product. or is there a specific choice requirement defined on the coupon? 9. Take a minute to scan through ALL of your coupons before 34 .4. They have real value. especially to the grocer who accepts them. The scanners in most grocery stores identify each coupon by linking the barcode on your coupon to a database of valid coupons in circulation. NEVER try to redeem a coupon for a brand other than the one shown on the coupon.g. CONTAINER SIZE / FLAVOR REQUIREMENTS: Is the coupon redeemable for all sizes. or must you buy 2?) 5. Almost every coupon you clip will have an expiration date. BOGO POLICY: Find out the store's policy on BOGO (Buy One / Get One Free) specials. QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS: Does the coupon require you to buy 2 or more of the item to get the discount? 8. MATCHING REQUIREMENTS: Is a matching purchase needed to redeem the coupon. Many check out clerks check the expiration date before they scan the coupon. BRAND REQUIREMENTS. buy milk & cookies to get X¢ off on the cookies? 10.) 6. Clip and keep ALL coupons for products you may want. (HINT: The highest-value coupon may not provide the best overall value. You will enjoy a double discount that gives you the item for a very low cost. 7. HYPER VALUES. Coupons are negotiable documents. if you knowingly attempt to redeem an expired coupon you are committing attempted fraud.

From that point on.. (It’s unlikely that anyone has ever served jail time for attempting to redeem an expired grocery coupon.) As I stated above. Do it once too often..) The expiration date can actually work in your favor. they start to appear in stores. more and more consumers redeem the coupons. It looks something like this: The day the coupons are distributed. they have no chance of getting credit for it.you go shopping so you can stay on the right side of the law… and your store manager. so there's another reason to be aware of coupons that are almost at their expiration date (but not beyond it. At some point near the middle of the promotion. But just bear in mind that the store is simply the brokering agent for the coupon. If they accept a coupon that is expired. Over the next few weeks. so the total number of coupons redeemed goes up. the total number starts to decline and eventually trails off. So when they issue a coupon on January 1st with an expiration date of March 31st. and your store manager may choose to call you out on it. 35 . they are anticipating a 'bell curve' in their response. So you are really attempting to steal from the store. the volume of coupons redeemed hits a peak. the food companies use coupons to boost seasonal sales of their products.

or offered as a 'BOGO'. This is when many products are put on special. and they may set a limit of 10 coupons per visit. The retailers know that only a small percentage of shoppers will actually take advantage of this offer – and those shoppers that do use coupons will often have just one or two that they found in their morning paper. If you were a product manager at the food company. In areas with only marginal competition. DOUBLING Coupon doubling is a popular technique used by grocery stores to attract shoppers. It's almost mandatory when there are multiple grocers in your area competing for your business. avoid these coupons if you are not willing to settle for the face discount value. Some important rules to know about doubling: 1. In areas with high competition. In areas of EXTREME competition where the grocery chains are fighting for market share. you MUST shop there to get the most for your money – regardless of your store preference.If you charted out the total number of coupons redeemed from January 1st through March 31st. Your store may or may not choose to double the coupon – and unless you know their policy for certain. especially senior citizens and families with children. you would be concerned about declining sales at this point. Some manufacturers are printing the words "DO NOT DOUBLE" in the margins of the coupon. When you see a store offering tripling of coupon values. you would see that very few coupons are redeemed in the last week of the promotion – between March 24th & March 31st. Find out if your store doubles "DO NOT DOUBLE" coupons. and may do something to boost sales until the next coupons are distributed. you may find TRIPLING of coupons from time to time. and a limit of 20 coupons per visit – or no limit at all. See the 'BOGO' section later in this book to find out how this works. 36 . it's common to see doubling limits increased to 99¢ in value. VERY FEW PEOPLE USE COUPONS and this can be to your advantage. a grocer may limit doubling to coupons up to 30¢ or 35¢ in value.

although some stores go as low as 35¢ and some go as high as 99¢. but it will pay off big 37 . you will save 40¢ by choosing Brand B – EVEN THOUGH your coupon had about half the face value of the coupon for Brand A. Here is an example: Brand Name Store Price Coupon Value Net Cost To You After Coupon Doubling Brand A Spaghetti Sauce Brand B Spaghetti Sauce $2. If you don't.00 $. you should get in the habit of determining their actual redemption value in the store you are shopping in. you will very likely be disappointed at the check out counter. the coupon net value difference here seems negligible – only 10¢ net difference. You can eventually achieve a lower net-cost per unit by selecting a brand for which you have a lower-value coupon.59 (coupon not doubled) $1. You must know the doubling limit of the store you are shopping in. A lesser-value coupon that is doubled can be worth more than a larger coupon that is NOT doubled. BEFORE you shop there. Two factors have contributed to your savings here: a. This will take a little practice. Check the prices for ALL brands for which you have coupons. Store sale.59 $2. Again.2.19 As you can see.29 on sale $1. b. which could net out a greater discount for you. IF the store has the item on sale. The most common level you will find is 50¢. The price savings on Brand B seems very small but can often make a huge net difference in your total grocery bill. It’s true.55 $1. DOUBLING LIMITS Every grocery store sets its own limits on the high value of coupon doubling. You may want to use a lower-value coupon. the net savings effect is multiplied. Determine the net redemption value of your coupon before you get to the checkout counter. When you view the face value of your store coupons. Doubling value of the coupon. More about this later. But combined with the sale price.

This example is for a store that has set a 55¢ maximum value on coupon doubling.time in terms of savings. the highest value coupon does NOT always result in the greatest discount. Coupon Face Value Redemption Value After Doubling 25¢ 35¢ 55¢ 60¢ 75¢ 50¢ 70¢ $1. It may be cheaper to clear the item out at half the price. This is why knowing the doubling limit of your grocery store is so important. the greater the net discount. EXPIRATION DATE. the cost of storing the excess items may be excessive. 2. the lower the coupon value. Perhaps the items did not sell as quickly as the store manager had anticipated and the inventory is approaching its expiration date.10 60¢ 75¢ As you can see. Alternatively. you get the second item for FREE when you buy one at the regular price. OVERSTOCK. Smaller-value coupons can often lead to larger savings at the grocery store. BOGO POLICY Remember those old 'alien from outer space' movies where the jet pilot reported a "Bogie at 10:00?" You need to be on similar high alert in the grocery store: "BOGO in aisle 10!" What is a BOGO? It's a "Buy One / Get One" deal. 38 . Sometimes. Why do stores offer BOGOs? 1. The items must sell before the expiration date or be discarded at a 100% loss to the store when the expiration date is reached. Here are some examples on how you should train your mind to think of coupons of different valuations. They may have ordered too many of a given item and they simply do not have room to store them.

or whether you can buy just one at half the price. MANUFACTURER PROMOTION. If you were going to buy the item anyway. 4. (although they are often chain-wide promotions offered by the leading grocers. do not pass up the BOGO deal. if the BOGO is for a non-perishable item that you could use in the future. or you cannot use two containers before the expiration date. Shoppers may visit one time to get the BOGO deals. This is the ideal time to use your store coupon. they can buy just one and pay half the price. someone can use the second item. the manufacturer's representative may give the store free merchandise to give away under a BOGO deal. BOGO promotions are quick for a retailer to implement. They will NOT advertise their actual BOGO redemption policy. The store may be in an intense market share fight with a competitor. By advertising a number of BOGO deals. Be bold: walk up to the customer service counter and ask the manager whether you MUST buy 2 of the item. Grocery stores will blast their BOGO deals in big type on the front page of their flyers. You could also consider donating it to Second Harvest or your local food bank. buy two and put the extra item in your pantry or freezer. To build market share for a specific product in a specific store. Many times they are store-specific. You cannot be timid when it comes to knowing the store's policy on BOGOs. It is your right to know. they can often entice shoppers to change their store of preference. LOSS LEADER. Here's an example to help you understand why: 39 .3. and they'll be glad to get it. and in many stores it is NEVER the case. and it can make a big difference in your checkout total. it makes no sense to buy the extra (second) item. However. Many shoppers will assume that if an item is on BOGO special. If you honestly don't need two of an item.) A store may offer a quick two or three day BOGO promotion to clear out stockpiled inventory. and the manager is hoping they enjoy the shopping experience and the values enough to switch stores permanently. This is not always the case. Why? Because they have nothing to gain by doing so.

rather than buy one at full price and take a second box free.25 each. 21 oz.00. $1.50. To keep senior customers happy. many stores will allow you to buy one box at half price.50. 21 oz. And 40 .75 for one box of cereal. regular price $3.75. BOGO SALE PRICE AT STORE WITH “1/2 Buy one at $1. 50¢ off on one box purchase. for a grand total savings of $4. Box. look how much you could save in this same example: PRODUCT: COUPON VALUE: Gummy Gunk Cereal. a savings of over 73% OFF RETAIL! CLIP EVERYTHING Let's cut to the chase: there is no need to clip coupons for 'Super Sugar Shack' cereal if you're a senior and don't have grandkids. they consume so little that the second box would become stale before they use it. Box. $2. Store doubles the coupon value to $1. get one free. OFF ONE” POLICY: NET COST TO YOU: $0. You have now saved $2. Buy one at $3. 50¢ off on one box purchase. Store doubles the coupon value to $1.50. CHECK WITH YOUR STORE BEFORE YOU BUY! If your store allows half off purchasing of one item in a BOGO deal.50 – more than 54% OFF RETAIL! SUPER SECRET: Some stores have altered their BOGO policy to meet the needs of senior citizens.PRODUCT: COUPON VALUE: BOGO SALE PRICE: NET COST TO YOU: Gummy Gunk Cereal. Seniors who live alone often do not need two boxes of a product. regular price $3.50 for two boxes of cereal.00.75 off normal retail on one box of cereal.25 per box of cereal. You have now saved $2.

But as you can see in our example. it results in what you will come to know as 'Coupon Nirvana'. not Brand B or Brand C.69 $1. Here's an example: Item Hot Sauce Crackers Ketchup Original Price $1. Be doubly careful about checking 41 . the Brand A marketing people spent big bucks to get that coupon into distribution. For example. and they deserve the sale it generates. and not clip it. you can look at the logos on the box to verify that it's one of their brands. it's the thrill of the hunt. it can lead to getting a product totally FREE. systematic couponing.29 50¢ $1. Where this gets tricky is when the coupon is for a 'family' of products.29 79¢ Sale Price 99¢ 59¢ Coupon Value 25¢ 30¢ Doubled Value 60¢ 50¢ Net Cost To You FREE 29¢ 49¢ % Savings Off Original Price 100% 82% 63% $1. it is a thrill you will enjoy every week. What I mean by 'Clip Everything' is do not avoid coupons for brands you haven't tried. You might like the brands you haven't tried. After all.there is no need to clip a coupon for denture cream if you're twentyfive and have a full set of pearly whites. which will typically show each brand they manufacture. If you follow my techniques for regular. OR. A good way to tell is to look at the photo on the coupon. And the 'nickel and dime' coupons that you might think worthless can really add up in certain situations. No legitimate grocer would accept a coupon for a brand other than the one shown. Plus. it means that it is ONLY good for Brand A Peanut Butter. or coupons that at first glance seem worthless. BRAND REQUIREMENTS When a coupon says it is good for Brand A Peanut Butter. And that's just about the best possible way to stretch your grocery budget.00 Many people will pass over a 30¢ coupon as trivial. a feeling of euphoria and power. It's not the free merchandise that is the reward. some cereal companies will issue coupons good for two or more boxes of any brand of cereal they make. over and over again. and you'll especially like them if you get them for FREE or close to free.

I had an experience recently where the store's print ad said that a particular brand of bacon was on BOGO sale. "Grilled Specialties" and "Bowls". The immediate inclination is to assume that all three of these variations were on sale. This is especially true with brands that have extensive product lines such as 'healthy' or 'diet' foods.00 extra for the same amount of meat. WRONGO-PONGO! The ad stated that the "Natural Choice" version was on sale. Another thing to watch is that you select the BRAND VARIATION a given coupon is valid for. but the coupon may be valid for only one of these four types of frozen dinners. but bad if you select the wrong variation and have to pay full price for it. 42 . or simply an honest mistake on the part of a sleepy stock clerk? You be the judge… but the price of the sale bacon was $4. so just go ahead and pick any two and get the deal.50 per package). If you picked up two of the non-sale variation.99 for two (net cost $2. The variation that was on sale wasn't even near the display sign! Was this an intentional deception on the part of the store manager. The industry calls these "line extensions". For example. you'd pay about $7. They're great for finicky eaters. "Singles". All four are frozen dinners. only to realize at the checkout line that the coupon is for a different implementation of the same brand. and the price of the NON-sale bacon was $5.99 per individual package. You should always double-check the flavor or brand variation. one frozen dinner manufacturer offers "Duos". You may see the brand name on the package and think it is the product described on the coupon. Bringing home the bacon gets a lot more expensive if you aren't on the alert. sign placement. because they often won't scan properly. but the sign was placed among the regular versions of the product. and sign wording. The scanner will reject the coupon if you haven't selected the exact same type shown on the coupon. If you see a wall full of products with the same brand logo. There was a giant display sign in the middle of three different variations of the brand's bacon. and they may have five or even ten line extensions in the same food category.that you receive your discount on these types of coupons. Another thing I'd like to point out about Brand Requirements is that you can't believe your eyes when it comes to signs. be on the alert that it's easy to select the wrong product. SIGNS LIE.

Do I need two of this item. But you will only be charged for one item. FLYERS LIE. there is nothing you can do about it. i. and will I consume this quantity within the normal shelf life of the product? b. and in fact they seem ticked that they were caught in a lie. Check the dates first. "Save $1. And once you've left the store. and the coupon will be authorized. QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS Some coupons require multiple purchases. So don't believe what you see. So a flyer you find in the cart on a Sunday could have expired the day before. don't use it until you verify that it's the current flyer. you can't return food if there was no mistake on the store's part.And given that the sale sign was in the largest portion of the meat cooler among the largest inventory of all the brands of bacon sold in that store. "that item was on sale last week. especially when you know you're right. The cashier will scan two boxes of the product. Factor this in when you are doing your 'net cost' calculations. 43 . When an item rings up wrong. I've had sales clerks state with 100% certainty. The clerks don't necessarily clean out the shopping carts every day. So don't be afraid to stick to your guns. All of a sudden. because you must buy two of them.e. SALES CLERKS LIE. but it's not on sale now. All you can do is to be more careful in the future. These type of coupons should put up red flags in your mind: a." I pull out the current sales flyer and show them the item.00 on 2". If you find a sales flyer in your shopping cart. I would tend to think that a lot of shoppers made a mistake in their selection. The face value of the coupon is automatically cut in HALF. and you will still enjoy the full value of the coupon discount. The one time that this quantity issue goes away is when the item is on BOGO (Buy One / Get One FREE). believe what you verify before you check out. so you will have technically purchased two. they're not so certain.

the store's 44 . bottle. One way to get increased value through 'matching requirement coupons' is to use ANOTHER coupon for the items required.35). package of our cookies AND an 18 oz. If in doubt. and possibly a third coupon for the particular brand of cereal. It may require a matching purchase. You may find that there are three other flavor choices on the shelf. bottle only. So you must spend $7. The same rule applies to flavors. and is trying to sway people away from buying the 16 oz.000 items in the typical grocery store. box of our cereal.50) and the full retail price of their cereal ($4. You have to understand that there are over 10. that is the rule.00). and in other cases it is valid for the one flavor only. It pays to do the math quickly in your head before using a matching requirement coupon. MATCHING REQUIREMENTS If a coupon offer looks too good to be true. You may actually come out ahead buying store brand cookies and cereal. The manufacturer may have an interest in promoting sales of their 32 oz. bottle. In most cases. and paying the regular price for your milk. take the coupon and the flavor you want to the Customer Service window and ask. They will scan the product and the coupon and let you know if the coupon is valid on that specific variation of the product. the coupon may say "FREE half-gallon of milk". you may find that you have a different coupon for the required brand of cookies. in the example above. be sure to read the fine print. The coupon may say that the discount is available on the "barbeque" flavor of sauce. bottle. Bear in mind that they are counting on you to pay the full retail price of their cookies ($3. The scanner will not accept the coupon if you try to use it with a 16 oz. because sometimes the coupon is valid for all four flavors.CONTAINER SIZE / FLAVOR REQUIREMENTS This is another area where discretion is the better part of valor. In other words. The fine type may include the actual offer: Free milk when you buy a 16 oz.85 to get a 'free' half-gallon of milk ($2. So if the coupon says the discount is valid on the 32 oz. For example. There is no hard-and-fast rule about this.

Since the store will automatically double the coupon at check-out time. (Be sure to check the product name and package size requirements.00 off on any 3 boxes of Brand "A" cereal.computer will not consider these to be competing coupons. BONUS BUYS. You never know until you try. the cashier must manually enter the price of the free item into the cash register. It just doesn't get any better than this. plus the cashier will take off the $1. so the coupon is entered differently from the others and the store’s computer will not reject it as an attempted double redemption. You'll now be paying $4.00. the bonus may apply to the 28 oz. The only way you'll find them is to read the flyer that shows up in your morning newspaper. If they are overstocked on a particular manufacturer's line of cereal – or perhaps the manufacturer's rep really needs to boost volume in your area and extends special pricing to the store – you may find that your store extends a 'Bonus Buy' across the entire product line. IF THERE'S NO SIGN. you are now getting the peaches for FREE. Here's how it works: Let's say that your store is overstocked with a certain brand and size of canned peaches. they offer them at 50% off. It's important to note that many of the special deals available at a store are NOT advertised on the store shelf. Instead of 99¢. IT MUST BE ON SALE. they're marked down to 50¢. A typical example of this is in cereals: All Brand "A" cereals on a list will be 3 for $5.00 for 3 boxes of cereal. make sure you understand and use the strategy of 'Hyper Values'. typically on a 45 . use it. or approximately $1. In most cases. box of cereal and NOT the 18 oz.50 for the milk. HYPER VALUES If you use only one strategy out of these coupon value-increasing ideas. So if you had a 50¢ coupon for the cookies and a 35¢ coupon for the cereal.70 in doubled value for these coupons. Another example is the 'Bonus Buys' that a store will offer.33 per box. you could get $1. box of cereal – so you could end up paying MORE for a SMALLER box if you're not careful!) If you have a coupon for $1. You happen to have a coupon for this brand offering 25¢ off a single can of fruit.

Wednesday or Thursday. These same flyers are also available on a rack when you enter the store. What is really laughable is that literally NOBODY picks up a flyer when they enter the store. How many times have you seen somebody poring over a store flyer before they shop? Almost never. The reason? It's déclassé, and most people 'just don't have time for that'. Again, if your time is more valuable than your money, breeze on by the stack of flyers. The 2 minutes you save by NOT reading the flyer could end up costing you $10, $20 or more. (But hey, it's only money).

Big Idea Recap – Chapter 6
BIG IDEA 23: The greatest savings in the “grocery game” are achieved when you PLAN in advance to save money and are PREPARED to save money before you ever hit the aisles of your grocery store. BIG IDEA 24: The closer to the coupon expiration date, the greater the chances that an additional promotion on the product has already started. It means that you can save even more on the same product. BIG IDEA 25: The food manufacturers know that many people will NEVER clip a coupon. For every person who REDEEMS a coupon, 10 others will READ the coupons and associate those brands with value. In other words, coupons are used to build impressions in your mind that certain products offer excellent quality AND value – regardless of whether they actually do or not. Unless you actually clip and redeem the coupon, you won’t receive that extra value. BIG IDEA 26: Watch for 'tripling' events. This is when a store offers triple the face value of the coupon. Some stores limit this promotion to 50¢, but others will triple up to 99¢ – so many of your items will be totally free after the discount. BIG IDEA 27: Sometimes, the lower the coupon value, the greater the net discount. (WHAT? Did I read that right, or is it a typographical error?) No, you did not read it incorrectly. Smaller-value coupons can often lead to larger savings at the grocery store.
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BIG IDEA 28: Take advantage of BOGO deals on non-perishable items, even when you don't have an immediate need for the item. Canned goods or cleaning supplies will keep just fine for a year or two on the shelf – and you won't have to pay full-price the next time you need the item. BIG IDEA 29: If your grocer allows you to buy only one item at half-price under a 'BOGO' deal AND you are using a coupon on the purchase, your net savings amount for the one item will be much higher that if you purchased two units of the same item. BIG IDEA 30: Clip every coupon that is for a product that some member of your household could use, even if you've never tried the brand before. You might find a super-special on the item, and you might end up liking it more than your current brand. BIG IDEA 31: Check, double-check, even triple-check to make sure that the brand variation shown on your coupon is the same as the item you put into your shopping cart. If it's wrong, you will probably end up paying full price for the item. BIG IDEA 32: Don't make assumptions when selecting items that are on sale. Pick up a sales flyer when you first enter the store, and compare the wording & photo of the sale item to the item in your shopping cart; if it doesn't match exactly, investigate until you are certain that you have the correct sale item. Don't trust signs or sales flyers until you verify that the dates and brand variations shown are correct. BIG IDEA 33: Be wary of "save on 2" or "save on 3" coupons. You have to buy so many of the item, it can negate the net value of the coupon. BIG IDEA 34: If a coupon shows a photo of a particular flavor, don't assume it's valid for all flavors unless this is specifically stated on the coupon. BIG IDEA 35: If the purchase of 2 or 3 different items is required to get a free item, you may be able to use additional coupons to lower the cost of the 2 or 3 items individually. BIG IDEA 36: You can get certain items for FREE is you have a coupon
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for sale items and your store doubles the value of your coupon. Read the ads, match your coupons to the ads, and do the math. It's that easy. BIG IDEA 37: Sometimes buying the bigger box costs less than buying the smaller box. BIG IDEA 38: The store is not required to call your attention to the items that are on sale. To get the best values you have to take note of the items that are featured in the store’s sales flyer, find those items, verify that you have selected the EXACT size / brand / variation that is on sale, and purchase those items. The sale items won’t jump into your cart by themselves (but if you’re not careful, similar products that you THINK are on sale but are actually NOT on sale, will be the ones that end up in your cart...)

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Chapter 7: Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way to Organize Coupons
There are many different gadgets and custom wallets on the market to help you organize your coupons. Some cost only a few dollars, others cost $15, $20 or more. YOU DON'T NEED THEM! There's a method I use that is basically free, uncomplicated, and flexible. It's simple, it's easy to remember, and once you get the hang of it, it will make finding your coupons a breeze. Use 8 ordinary white envelopes. If you're super-cheap, you can even re-use bank envelopes, payroll envelopes, or business reply envelopes from your junk mail, (now that's REALLY cheap.) When the envelopes wear out, simply replace them. I keep mine bundled with a rubber band, and I store them in the glove box of my car. That way, I always know where they are. Also they're easy to stick in a pocket when I head into the store. The 8 envelopes are categories of products and stores. Write the category and item listings on each of your envelopes, as follows: BAKED GOODS Bread / Baking Supplies Refrigerated Dinner Rolls / Biscuits Cereal Cookies / Crackers Chips / Candy / Nuts / Popcorn / Snacks CANNED GOODS & BEVERAGES Vegetables Salad Soup Fruit Juices / Soda Coffee MEAT & FROZEN Lunchmeats

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reading a magazine or talking on the phone.e. If you can't set aside 15 minutes per week to deal with your coupons. $5.- Bacon / Sausage / Fresh Meats Any Frozen Product (except Ice Cream) CONDIMENTS & SIDE DISHES Pasta / Sauces Boxed Meal Mixes Rice / Grains Salad Dressing Peanut Butter / Jelly Spices / Salt / Sugar Cooking Oil DAIRY Milk / Cheese / Sour Cream Eggs Ice Cream / Toppings Pudding / Dips CLEANING SUPPLIES Household Cleaning Products Paper Products Dog / Cat Food PERSONAL PRODUCTS Personal Hygiene Items / Soaps / Deodorant Medicine RESTAURANT & STORE DISCOUNTS Store Discount Coupons (i. the system won't work. $40. I'm 50 . Yes.e. You should simply spend the extra $30. it's important that you dedicate yourself to saving money. i. $50 or more and use your 15 minutes for more productive things – like watching TV. Drug Store Coupons HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR COUPONS First off.00 off any $30 Order) Restaurant / Retail Store Coupons Specific-Store Coupons.

as follows: – CENTRAL LOCATION. it can actually be illegal. It's like anything else – a diet. It's important that you do not reject coupons by brand name or familiarity at this point. because you really don’t tend to get as many coupons in the Personal Products and Restaurant 51 . and simply put the Sunday coupon sections in there until I have time to go through them. but the truth of the matter is that saving money takes time and dedication. I keep my coupon envelopes held together with a rubber band. or a sport – you have to do the same things like clockwork for an extended period of time before you will ever see any results. NEVER try to use an out-of-date coupon. But if it's something that you'd consider trying if it was free. Cleaning Supplies I put the final two envelopes to the side. When you have the time. I open the envelopes one by one and pull out any expired coupons. clip the coupon: it may end up free to you if you play your coupons right… – REVIEW EXPIRATION DATES. – CLIP ALL AT ONCE. When it's time to do my sorting. Then. You have to have an almost religious zeal for following the system (or whatever system you prefer) and stick to it. It's bad form. Side Dishes Right row top to bottom: Breads. Keep all coupons in one place until they are sorted. Dairy. Canned Goods.being sarcastic. I use a small wicker basket. go through the coupon sections and cut out any coupon you might consider using. and. I lay the envelopes out on the table in 2 rows. it can be embarrassing. – SORT ALL AT ONCE. a hobby. place and routine for organizing and maintaining your coupons. if you do it knowingly. obviously don't clip that coupon. If it's something you wouldn't even consider using. I find that it helps to set a specific time. go through your envelopes and remove all expired coupons. Before going on a shopping trip (or at least once every few weeks). in a specific order: Left row top to bottom: Meats.

etc. The most important thing is that you need an establish a fixed routine. It's a good thought. 60. and you could be keeping them out of refrigeration for a dangerous amount of time. This will make short work out of organizing your coupons. I leave plenty of room between the envelopes. so I tend to focus on those most of all. Of course. Add in your drive time home. bundle the envelopes back up with my rubber band. they could be out of refrigeration for 45. etc. Then. lunch meat / frozen foods always go to the top left. you'll have a lot of perishable items in your cart that will melt or lose freshness while you are browsing the inner aisles of the grocery store. and easier to stick to. follow each step to its completion in a quick and determined manner. Remember. and will make it more relaxing and stress-free. Do it the same way each week. and simply stack my new coupons immediately below each of the envelopes.& Store Discount categories. you can develop your own routine. The benefit of following a routine is that you end up sorting without having to think about it.. If you do this. sticking to your PLAN will help you ROUTINELY save money. meats. If you follow the expert's advice. you'll load up on fresh fruits & vegetables. If you make a ROUTINE out of PLANNING to save money. For example. if you buy fresh meats and you put them in your cart first.e. SHOPPING TIME: organize your shopping trip to save time and keep food fresh. but not always practical if you've got a family and have to stock up on a wide range of items every time you shop. and avoid the processed foods on the inner aisles. anything you can do to save time with your system will make it easier to follow. even 90 minutes. it’s just mentally easier. baked goods. and throw away my pile of expired coupons. Most of your coupons will be in the “big six”. i. and do it all at once. bread & cereal is always top right. Of course. this doesn't 52 . I put the new coupons in the envelopes. when I'm done. Health experts will tell you to shop the perimeter of a grocery store first.

And chances are.00 off coupon. Many people would simply look at the two coupons side by side: Brand A's coupon gives you $1.99. SCAN.49. but your family will eat healthier if you focus your shopping in this section. dairy products. and Brand B's coupon gives you 50¢ off. 4. But 'Brand B' may be on sale for $2.00 off on an item we'll call 'Brand A'. But you may not be enjoying the BEST value. so it's EQUAL in value to Brand A's $1. i.00 off. Save the bread. meat and frozen foods for last.apply to produce. REVIEW all coupons that you have for the category to see if you have coupons for the items that are on sale. Let's review why each of these steps is critical to your couponing success. $1. Immediately put the coupon in your designated coupon pocket or other storage place. 2. THE SYSTEM There are four simple steps when using store coupons: 1. Plus. As an even better value proposition. It takes a little discipline. right? WRONG! In this case. There is literally nothing you can buy in the store that is better for your family's health than fresh fruit and vegetables.99. MATCH. the 50¢ Brand B coupon will be doubled in value at the checkout counter. SCAN all products in the category to see what's on sale today. you will find that 53 .e. you may be tempted to search out that exact item and buy it. Let's say that Brand A's normal price is $3. making Brand B a better value choice right from the start. POCKET. 3. When you have a match of coupon and sale item put the item in your cart. you'll get a good value by buying Brand A. your net cost of buying it will be $1. With your dollar off. so when you buy this brand you'll pay less without using a coupon.49. you'll pay $2. When you have an appealing coupon.49 – fully ONE HALF THE NET COST OF THE BRAND A ITEM!!! Over time. Let's say the Brand B coupon is for 50¢ off. consider that you may have a coupon for the Brand B item. and they'll arrive home in much better condition. because Brand B is on sale for $2. and that's the place to start shopping first. so the Brand A coupon offers you better savings.

Manufacturers pay a 'slot fee' to buy shelf space. Yes. folks – it's a little-told secret of the food processing industry. The plant I worked at manufactured one of the top-selling brands of pickles in the world. while a generic can of peas will look lackluster. They change the labels! If you doubt this. not all generics offer the same quality as the top-shelf brands. They carry lots of 54 . They gear up to keep their factories running 24/7. and serve them up in identical dishes. one of the high-priced brand and one of the low-priced store brand. the results will be laughable: the value brand will be preferred in many cases. I can assure you. they typically won't know the difference. At my local dollar store. Buy two cans of an identical item. I prefer the 'baby' peas. which go for about three times the cost of generic. because these manufacturers put a lot of effort into their packaging. What did we do when we reached our quota of the name brand product for the week? Well… we switched out the paper on the labeling machine. Yes. and the highest-price space is right at eye level. I know. they don't shut down the production line. But here's a little secret (one I know from having worked at a pickle factory during summer break at college). try and run a taste-test contest with your family. the higher-priced items will be at eye level. They grab the first thing they see that looks appealing.SCANNING the entire product category before making a selection will be your #1 key to saving. A can of toppriced peas will look delicious and inviting. You may notice that the higher-priced brands look better. And frankly. they have a great food products section. REVIEW. You'll find that in most stores. and used the generic-brand labels. Another quick test is to compare the bottle design. But when they're cooked and on your table. do you really think your family will not eat the generic peas? Unless they see the cans. See if your family can correctly identify which is the high-priced brand and which is the value brand. So when their factory reaches their quota of producing the name-brand product. Most people are reactive shoppers. Cook both items. because that is the only way they can get maximum efficiency and return on investment on their plants.

When you taste the sauce. If you forget to MATCH the specifics of the coupon offer to the EXACT LABEL on the soup can. The coupons they issue are typically good for just one of their soup categories.condiments and sauces. and single-serving microwavable soup for one. chunky soup. Some brands have four or five categories that are completely different. In fact. You've seen above why it's important to SCAN all of the shelves for the best item and REVIEW all of your coupon and sale combination. for example. Take soup. it would simply be too costly for them to change recipes or ingredients to produce the 'off brands'. Most of the biggest. you need to MATCH your coupon to the item before you commit to the buy. some of them will be downright awful. Now that you've chosen the best possible combination. POCKET. you may get the EXACT SAME QUALITY with a generic or storebrand product. home-style soup. So if you're astute and willing to do a little testing. and you’ll enjoy a real deal. You have to physically present ALL of your coupons at the checkout counter 55 . This may seem like a really dumb step. One top brand sells regular soup. kitchen select soup. I'm not saying that every item you pick up in a dollar store is going to be identical to the leading brand. But if you try them. etc. it tastes just like the leading brand. flavor. but in some cases it is. MATCH. most efficient food manufacturing plants produce and package the off-brand products. It may not always be the same quality as the leading brands. POCKET the coupon.. and the coupon may only be good for one category of item. as well as the expiration date. but it's actually very important. Their off-brand version of Worcestershire sauce is in a bottle that is shaped remarkably like the #1 brand in the world. Check the brand name. you might find that they’re the identical product made by the leading name-brand manufacturer. you could find that your coupon is rejected at the checkout counter – the ultimate coupon-cutter's nightmare. size. Last but not the least. I mean that you should give a final check of the coupon details and the product details BEFORE you put the item into your cart. By this.

and follow it like clockwork. that's just the way I do it – and it may not be the best choice for you. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 7 BIG IDEA 39: The simpler the system. If you do things the same way each week. BIG IDEA 40: If you can't FIND the coupons you need. especially if you have ever gotten in your car and realized that you forgot to present your coupons at the checkout counter. I use my left pocket. Again. Have you ever gotten home with your shopping bags and realized that there was an on-pack coupon that you forgot to use? Nothing is more galling than seeing a 50¢ "REDEEM ME NOW" coupon stuck to a box that you have already bought. on every shopping trip. but now it's gone. does this sound too elementary and ridiculous to you? It won't.when you are buying your groceries. they won't be redeemed. Here's another reason why you have to be diligent in PHYSICALLY TRANSFERRING THE COUPON to your "POCKET" location for redemption. You can't go back! Once your shopping transaction is completed. If they don't make it into the hands of the checkout clerk. So the coupons in your pocket that would have been worth $20 or $30 in actual cash savings will now be worth diddly-squat. you can't REDEEM them. Again. if I find that I have an expired coupon. During the course of my shopping trip. And it WILL add up over time. Create your own system or use mine. You could have taken the family to the movies with that money. and putting them all in one safe secure place. the more likely you are to stick with it over time. Just make sure you have a true system. the store won't let you go back and turn your coupons in. Every minute you put into organizing your coupons will 56 . the easier it is to use – and the easier it is to use. to be thrown away at the first trash can I encounter. but that's just a personal preference. you will systematically save money. So it's important to get in the habit of POCKETING all of the coupons you plan to use. I crush it up and put it in my right pocket.

sticking to your PLAN will help you ROUTINELY save money. BIG IDEA 43: if you make a ROUTINE out of PLANNING to save money. In other words. BIG IDEA 44: Learn the layout of your grocery store(s). BIG IDEA 48: Make it a routine to keep your coupons in the EXACT SAME PLACE every time you go shopping.. you'll become more alert to spotting bargains and avoiding impulse buys. most efficient food manufacturing plants produce and package the off-brand products. calculate the FINAL COST of the item in your head after factoring in the doubled coupon value. Remember. If you only consider buying familiar products or ones you've tried and used before. similarly. Do things the same way every time. and you'll get better at them day after day. Reading the fine print can save you a bundle at the checkout counter. and you can actually SAVE MONEY by buying the EXPENSIVE brand! BIG IDEA 46: Most of the biggest.. Plan out a mental "road map" of how you will routinely shop in that store. you may get the EXACT SAME QUALITY with a generic or store-brand product. your coupons aren't worth the paper they're printed on… 57 . buying more EXPENSIVE foods could actually SAVE you money. once you leave the store. it's a sure way to remember to present them to the cashier before you pay. If you are astute and willing to do a little testing. BIG IDEA 47: Don't assume that a coupon is good for all sizes / flavors / variations of a particular brand item – even if it seems to be an obvious match. don't let the 'bargain' price of an item make it your #1 choice. BIG IDEA 45: Don't let the high price of an item scare you off buying it. BIG IDEA 42: Keep an open mind as to which products you would consider trying. Follow that road map every time you do your big weekly shopping run. BIG IDEA 41: Consistency is the key to effectiveness in any system.be paid back to you in greater savings at the cash register. and you'll reduce your in-store time significantly. you'll never maximize your full potential of reducing your food budget.

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and for shock value..* (Hey wait. currency is illegal. The only difference is that they were issued by different entities: one by the U. Keep this one fact in mind: the grocery store cash register doesn't care which is which: it sees both items as having a $1. Okay. Mint. and one by a food manufacturer. (Feels good. Step 4.Chapter 8: The Currency vs. Locate a paper shredder. and insert the 50¢ coupon into the shredder.. people! 59 .S. doesn’t it?) Take a dollar bill out of your wallet or purse.S. the 50¢ coupon would have been doubled in value at the time of redemption.00 value against the total purchase price of your groceries.Coupon Litmus Test If you are still questioning whether or not you are a "coupon person" (or could ever become one. it is presented here for comparison purposes only. and think they aren't worth the paper they're printed on. Step 2. I don’t waste REAL money. Look in your Sunday newspaper coupon section. try taking the 'Currency vs. *NOTE: Destruction of U. If you are concerned that you may just be this type of person.) here is one sure way to settle the issue once and for all. or you simply find the whole process distasteful. that’s REAL money we’re talking about. so it is IDENTICAL IN VALUE to the dollar bill. Step 1. Wake up and smell the mocha java. chances are there is one somewhere in your office. It's true: some people have complete and total disdain for grocery coupons. either because you just can't be bothered to clip coupons.!) Step 3. Coupon Litmus Test'. Now. too. Turn the shredder on. insert the dollar bill into the shredder. Do not actually implement this test. Does shredding the dollar bill bother you more than shredding the coupon? Why? At most grocery stores. You may think you're not a candidate to save money. Step 5. and find a 50¢ coupon for a product that your family uses on a regular basis.

I sometimes get in a hurry. The couponer's nightmare is thinking you've just scored the ultimate trifecta: BOGO deal. "don't you feel like you've wasted a lot of time when you throw away expired coupons?" There is a bit of truth in this. And remember: there is no way for you to know which items will be on special at your grocery store in three or four weeks. It's all just part of the process. or you can revel in the ones that you caught. coupon in hand. store sells single item for half the price. you're throwing away cash. The coupon you don't clip because you "can't afford that brand" could have made that item cheaper than the store brand on your next shopping trip. 60 . just take an extra second to check the expiration date before you transfer the coupon to your left pocket.59 for it. you're still getting a great deal – but it's a huge let-down because you got tripped up by the fundamentals. Then. But think like a fisherman: you can whine about the ones that got away. Some people say. and to be perfectly honest with you. the cashier informs you that the coupon you have presented is expired. especially when you're throwing away a stack of 50 or 75 coupons that you painstakingly clipped a few months earlier. you don't know what's going to be on sale at your store in three or four weeks. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. If you're throwing away the coupons from your Sunday paper. The coupon that you didn't clip might be the one that you wished you had later on… Big Idea Recap – Chapter 8 BIG IDEA 49: Coupons work just like currency at the cash register.00 item for 29¢ and you have to pay $1. but sometimes you just don't have those extra 15 minutes. It only takes an extra 15 minutes or so when you're adding new coupons. I've caught myself about to make a mistake like this many times. If this is your situation.CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS: purging your expired coupons. BIG IDEA 50: Unless you're an industry insider or a psychic. I only purge my coupons about once every month or so. When you think you're getting a $3.

and B. with a price. and the barcode identifies you to the store's computer every time you shop there. Here's how these clubs work: 1. SHOP. Cards & Counterintelligence FREQUENT SHOPPER CARDS: Value. 4. Often. the regular price. In most stores. minimally tells you) is that their system is collecting information on your family's purchasing habits and product preferences. You sign up for the program at the Customer Service counter. the club member's price. SCAN. the ONLY way you can get the 'sale' prices on the item is to be a member of their shopping club.Chapter 9: Clubs. Why? Because you will save money immediately and instantly every time you shop. a store makes more money by selling this information than they do on the products you have purchased! Why is your information so valuable? The truth is individual family 61 . you present your card or your key fob to the cashier. As any astute shopper knows. and the computer will instantly recognize you as a club member. You must join every club. When you go to check out. 2. and typically they give you a plastic sheet with a punch-out membership card and a couple of punch out key fobs. at every store you shop in – even if you only shop there once or twice per year. They sell this information to data compilers and marketing firms. What the store DOESN'T tell you (or at best. You will receive the club member discount price on the featured items. the only way to get the lowest prices in the grocery store is to join the store's frequent shopper club program. Look for the special discount signs on products throughout the store. JOIN. GET ANALYZED. The cashier will scan the barcode on the card or key fob. 3. They will typically show two prices: A. All of these items feature a barcode. You join the club.

They are committed to influencing you to shop this way. If they find that families with your demographic indicators participate in this pricing offer 45% more than families with lower incomes. Of course. Let's say for example that the store features a national brand of cookies at a special rate. Here's something else that few shoppers know: consumer product manufacturers pay stores a 'slot fee' for the space on their shelves. your data can help identify trends and validate information that is VERY profitable to the grocery product industry. they will realize that they DO NOT have to lower the price of this product below this point to maintain market share. The buying patterns of shoppers at your local grocery store often dictate the prices you will pay. and the discount store brands get the bottom shelves. That is why a national brand gets the middle shelves that are at eye level. '2 for $3. he's hiding in the aisles of your grocery store. This translates into huge sales and huge revenues for the manufacturers.information is not extremely valuable by itself. "Big Brother" is alive and well. let's say that your household income is between $75.000 and $80. For example. so they make the most money off of you. But as a member of a specific demographic group. your age is 35 to 40 and you have 3 children under the age of 10. when the normal price of a single item is $2. they will monitor the sales of this item by the total number of items sold. You are a powerhouse consumer. i. and the grocery industry wants you to buy the smallest packages of the most expensive brands at the highest prices. The market will have spoken loud and clear and saved the manufacturer a ton of money in promoting that specific product.99'. because they know that most consumers are lazy and will buy the first product that they see in the category they are shopping for.e. If shoppers are lazy and prove that they 62 . The national brands pay the highest shelf fees. BUT – they will also be monitoring the demographics of the people purchasing them.000. They will have learned that their target audience – affluent young families with children – are perfectly happy to buy two units at a total savings of 40¢ – and there is no need to offer a lower price point or a 'Buy one / get one free' package deal.19.

If you've ever thought that the aisles in your grocery store can seem like a rat maze in a testing laboratory. you're not too far off the mark. recorded and analyzed for future use by marketing firms. etc. Guess what product that code 63 . you can't keep any secrets from the grocery store's computer. Now. talking participant in the world's largest focus group. although they will. They may ask you for some demographic information such as your age. That little store tag you keep on your key chain has a barcode. As a club member. you have to fill out a registration form. You tell them your name. To get your discount card or key tag that entitles you to discounts at the store. But the main purpose of these clubs is not to save you money.will pay any cost for a particular item. marital status. 2. you can see it below the barcode on the package. REGISTRATION. The computer knows what every item is. in infinite detail. Welcome to the Maze. too. before you get shocked or scared or decide to quit the shopper's club (a truly BAD idea). children's age. The real goal behind these clubs is something… well…. PRODUCT CODE. You need to join them. they are in essence telling the store manager. CLUB MEMBER CODE. "PLEASE RAISE OUR PRICES!" And guess what? The manager will gladly comply… This is all a long way of saying that discount clubs will save you money every time you shop. (ever notice that they ALWAYS keep the cheese in the back of the store…?) The truth of the matter is that shoppers' clubs are the ultimate tool used by the food industry to make you a walking. let's look at how this happens: 1. street address. Every item in the store carries a product code. just about every purchase you make is being monitored. etc. slightly more sinister. Most of this information is available from national consumer databases anyway. 3. Every different size / shape / flavor has a unique code that is captured when the check-out clerk scans the package.

in a word. The computer knows who you are. 4. So if manufacturer "A" has a wealth of information on the salad dressing preferences in a particular metropolitan area. huh? And that's just the tip of the iceberg lettuce…. their loyal customer? This information is worth BIG BUCKS to people in the industry. They can save a year or more of expensive research time. The ultimate solution being. SHARED DATA.6 that month. where you live. It knows that you got crazy last November and tried the balsamic vinaigrette but it probably wasn't a hit because you didn't buy it again. no… Of course it DOES know that your household consumes 1. but prefer the name brand variety. getting you to buy more stuff at a higher price and consume it faster. the top 1/10th of that 64 .4 bottles of Italian salad dressing per month. compared to your neighbor across the street whose family consumes 2. If your grocery store chain knows all of these intimate details about your household. people whose job is to SELL YOU MORE STUFF! Information is money and time is money.1 bottles per month. they'll sell it to just about anyone who wants it. this falls under the category of 'picking the lowest-hanging fruit first'. packaged it.represents? It's YOU. surely they're keeping it private – aren't they??? Well. They've picked it. And these guys know all about the low-hanging fruit. so they can get to the ultimate solution faster. and they can reap this data to sell more of THEIR product using the data. It knows that you have tried the store brand dressing once. But wait a minute – isn't it true that the affluent neighborhoods sell more of everything at a higher price. manufacturer "B" may 'cut to the chase' quicker by purchasing this information. shipped it.4 bottle level dropped to 0. NO. But it doesn't know that you like to sneak out and get a pint of premium ice cream on a Saturday night. The information saves them time. and what you buy. and sold it for years. Scary stuff. Why would they do this to you. no. And it knows that you tried a competing grocery chain in August because the 1. But if you view the nation as a giant pyramid based on affluence. In fact. so the manufacturers just focus on THOSE markets? Why would they mess with the many lower or middle-income neighborhoods in the nation? Actually. does it? No.

let's look at a fictitious customer "Betty" who lives in a smaller rural city. if they can figure out how to get her to switch brands and become a loyal customer of theirs. Based on sheer numbers. they can use the same technique to influence the 15. After all. EVERY consumer in America is of interest to the food manufacturers. 5. You're part of a larger consumer group. ZERO 65 . but the big family-size boxes.pyramid is the affluent markets. GOOD DATA = GOOD VALUES. The manufacturers of "Berry Blop" cereal are envious. and lo and behold – the kids could care less whether they're eating Fruit Goop or Berry Blop. So Betty starts getting some really interesting coupons in the mail or through the internet (see the online coupon section at the end of this book. SIMPLY PUT: you may live in Podunk. because she's buying 4. if only she would try them. But the story doesn't end there… The manufacturers of Fruit Goop cereal notice that Betty's volume – a steady 4. and they'd sure like Betty to migrate over to their brands. The good part of this whole process is that you are proving your worth to the food industry with every purchase you make.7 boxes per month – and not the smaller boxes.3 million other shoppers like Betty who live in similar-size communities and make similar levels of income. and the food manufacturer is happy because he's successfully migrated Betty away from Fruit Goop. To see how this works. Her kids seem to like "Fruit Goop" cereal. So the kids are happy. but the information on your buying habits is just as important – and possibly even MORE important – than the buying habits of rich people on Rodeo Drive. So Betty redeems the coupon and brings the cereal home.) These values can help Betty really save some cash. Betty doesn't make a huge income. the majority of the profit for these food manufacturers is found in the secondary markets and lower.7 boxes for the past 3 years – has dwindled to…. but she's doing alright. not just the wealthiest households. Betty's happy because she saved a lot of cash. The bottom 90% of the pyramid is the lower to middle-income neighborhoods.

BOXES! Flashing red lights and alarms are going off in the factory. "Something must be done," shouts the big boss with the cigar in his mouth. And so the legions of marketers snap into action and start blitzing Betty with huge discounts on Fruit Goop cereal. So now she can redeem these coupons on Fruit Goop and save even more money. The kids, meanwhile, are mass-consuming whatever she pours into their bowls. They're oblivious. Betty is ecstatic; her monthly food bills are going down. But wait, there's more… The manufacturer of Berry Blop notices that he's losing out again. He redoubles his effort – issuing even more coupons for the brand that he knows Betty's brood prefers two to one over Fruit Goop. So Betty uses those coupons on her next shopping trip. Repeat this cycle over and over, until the Betty clan outgrows their preference for excessivelysugared products, and wakes up to real nutrition. Then, the manufacturers start in on her new neighbors who have younger kids… While cynical and exaggerated, the example of "Betty" above is the basic process of couponing in America today. And while the delivery vehicles are not always so targeted, the industry is headed more and more in this direction. Take note of the coupons that are printed at the cash register: these are the principal ammunition in the household preference wars. Some coupons are printed and delivered directly to the household, but these are on a more infrequent basis due to the high cost. The biggest volume of activity in these wars takes place on a market-by-market level. The industry looks at overall performance by select demographic groups, and responds to the market as a whole by varying the coupon amounts and promotional activity by individual market. This is far more prevalent than individual household couponing. But the industry is getting more household-centric as technology gets more advanced. And certain changes in our technology-savvy households are closer than you think… 6. GUESS WHO'S COMING TO (TV) DINNER? (Apologies to Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn). Did you know that over-the-air TV broadcast is ending in 2009? More and more households are buying High Definition TV sets (HDTV), and soon everyone will have a digital receiver (or 2, 3, 4 or more) in their household. The color and clarity will be fantastic. The number and

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diversity of the channels will be spectacular. And the commercials? Well, they'll be aimed directly between your eyes, or more specifically – your wallet. Let's say your name is Suzy Shopper and your neighbor across the street is Charlie Consumer, and you're both watching the latest chapter of "Desperate Cowgirls", the #1 network show far and wide. When it goes to commercial, you – Suzy Shopper – are viewing a commercial for the latest gas-guzzling vehicle to sputter out of Detroit. That's because you're driving a seven year old import, and your index potential for a new car purchase in the next six months is off the charts. Your neighbor Charlie, meanwhile, is viewing a commercial for golf clubs, because he plays golf six times a month. Hey – wait a minute – how did they know he's a golfer and I'm driving an old car??? And how the heck did they change those commercials out between our two households…??? This is simple stuff with the new technology in place today. And as far as knowing your lifestyle / hobbies / major purchases and brand preference? Heck, they even know what brand toothpaste you use… So how does this relate to you, Suzy Shopper and Charlie Consumer, each snug in your little condos in front of your blazing hot widescreen Plasma HDTVs? The marketers are coming for you both – individually and personally – and they're out for nothing less than total mind control. Okay, that sounded a little out there even for me… but the truth is that your buying habits are being monitored and addressed on increasingly-specific levels. The war for your wallet is gearing up for high speed, high-tech battle. And in the grand scheme of things, you are powerless to stop it. Sure, you can TiVo your way out of the commercials. But guess what? Soon enough, you won't WANT to. And here's why: Here you are, Suzy Shopper, watching the Cowgirls prance across your screen. Before you can grab the remote, a commercial for the new "MegaSmog V8 convertible" comes across your screen, and the graphic says, "Suzy – we'll pay you $100 to test drive this car today!" And you're thinking, "WOW – I could really use that $100 to buy 5 gallons

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of gas for my current car, but I'm never going to buy a new car; I'll just go down there and get my free cash!" So you go down to the dealership, and you get your $100. The dealer is happy, too, because he knows that you are an interested shopper. He will continue to target you until you finally convert and buy the new car. It's a numbers game, so he's just happy to move you up the priority ladder among prospects. Meanwhile, your neighbor Charlie was previously watching Desperate Cowgirls, but he got bored and switched over to the Knitting Network. Guess what? The commercials followed him over there. In the future (i.e. now, or thereabouts), advertisers will buy time by households, segmented by very precise demographic indicators, rather than by blocks of time on a network. So whatever channel you select, you'll get a certain amount of household-specific offers. So Charlie is watching "Knit One / Purl, Too!" – on the knitting Network, his favorite hobby channel, and up comes a commercial for the latest set of golf clubs from Wham-Co. Charlie is perfectly happy with his old set of clubs, but the ad says, "Hey Charlie – come to Gargantuan Golf World this weekend, and we'll give you a dozen balls free – just for testing our new clubs.” Charlie was headed there to pick up some new balls anyway, so he says "what the heck" and heads off to the store. Soon thereafter, he's on the driving range blasting away with his new set of Wham-Co clubs, which, as he discovered at the store, he simply could not live without… THE MORAL OF THE STORY: It's really quite simple: whether you are a prospect for a new car, a set of golf clubs, or a year's supply of Fruit Goop cereal, your shopping selections are VERY IMPORTANT to manufacturers today. If you learn how to play their game and work their system, you can enjoy some real values and real savings. You may scoff at grocery coupons today. But coupons are coming your way, even if you never open the Sunday newspaper or read your mail: they will simply be delivered electronically. And you will WANT to view them and redeem them.

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he's hiding in the aisles of your grocery store. Affix a "sucker" label to your forehead and tell people proudly that you pay full price. Is this whole process a bad thing or a good thing? Well. There is really no down side to this or personal repercussions. every day. thank you. BIG IDEA 52: "Big Brother" is alive and well. and they will continue to do it in the future. You're really not helping any cause or righting any wrongs by NOT participating in the program. even if you only shop there once or twice a year. you DO end up saving money when you use the club card. BIG IDEA 53: The buying patterns of shoppers at your local grocery store often dictate the prices you will pay. be aware that every purchase you make – or don’t make – is being monitored. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 9 BIG IDEA 51: If you "don't have time" to sign up for the grocery store shopper's club. and the truth is that this process will go on very well without you.The firms that purchase your family's shopping habits and brand preferences from your local grocery store are doing it now. If you are a member of a frequent-shopper club. Are there long-term disadvantages? That is a debatable subject. But in my book. The decision to join the club or not join the club is a personal one. 69 . "PLEASE RAISE OUR PRICES!" And guess what? The manager will gladly comply… BIG IDEA 54: Get a frequent shopper cart at every grocery store you visit. so make an informed decision for you and your family that matches your personal preferences and comfort levels. you "don't have time" to save money. If shoppers are lazy and prove that they will pay any cost for a particular item. So I don't have any problem in recommending shopping club membership to everyone. they are in essence telling the store manager. for every item in the store. so there are immediate benefits to you that can help your family's budget. getting the most for your shopping dollar is first and foremost. but you need to know that you’re part of one of the world’s largest focus groups of all time. Much of this data originates from the lowly-little 'frequent shopper club' tag sitting on your key chain. the bargains are well worth it.

If you learn how to play their game. or a P. but it will be harder for the store to link this to your home address. But coupons are coming your way. because you’ll get lots of free stuff and better deals on virtually everything you buy – even cars. cell phones and other high-ticket items. The sooner you start the process. If you're traveling on vacation and need groceries. discounts and special values that other people won't enjoy. BIG IDEA 58: Today's brand marketers know a LOT about you already. 70 . BIG IDEA 56: EVERY consumer in America is of interest to the food manufacturers. The shopping actions of a lower-income household are monitored just as closely as those of the most affluent households. even if you never open the Sunday newspaper or read your mail: they will simply be delivered electronically. Box. you'll get the card immediately. even if you don't plan to return anytime soon.O. not just the wealthiest households. BIG IDEA 60: Sign up for frequent shopper clubs at every grocery store you visit. HDTV sets. and you could save $10 or $20 just on your one visit.BIG IDEA 55: Concerned about privacy? Register using your work address. You'll still get the card and enjoy the discounts. Of course. the sooner you'll get into the higher discount levels. BIG IDEA 57: The more coupons you redeem. And you will WANT to view them and redeem them. get a card at the grocery store in that area. BIG IDEA 59: You may scoff at grocery coupons today. the more interest you will attract from food marketers. you can enjoy increasing amounts of free stuff. you'll have to pay with cash because they can get your address off your check or your credit/ debit card. You'll get more offers and better values over time.

it is an ongoing store promotion that lets you purchase items and get some or all of the purchase price back in the form of a cash rebate. Visit all the major drug store chain stores in your area at least once a month. It's not always true. and every item was something that somebody in my family could use. so most of the big chains offer rebate clubs. when they're 71 . you could literally get $150 in FREE stuff each month – up to $1. because some people get their prescriptions at the food store. Even if you're not super-diligent or the offers aren't that lucrative every month of the year. even if you don't normally shop there.Chapter 10: The Power of Rebate Clubs. toupee wax.800 a year. My record on free items is $62 in one month. When it comes to pharmacies. (Does anyone use toupee wax anymore? There's a question for the ages…) So if you're like most people. this one technique alone could save you over $1. The rebate club offers can allow you to get as much as $50 in FREE merchandise each month. just to pick up their rebate club flyer. which issue a monthly flyer of offers. hard-working youth of America. What is a rebate club? Simply put. Here's a money-saving tip: wander over there at least once a month. If you visit 3 stores a month. These are typically found at the larger drug store chains. Seniors spend more per capita on prescriptions than any other demographic group. you rarely – if ever – venture over to the 'brand X' pharmacy. aka “Your Check’s in the Mail” Why you should join every one you can. The store doesn't care about giving $20 or $30 in rebate money to a senior. The store that you use to get your prescriptions filled is generally the store that you get your drug store supplies from.000 a year on drug store supplies! It's no secret that the pharmacy chains are in big competition with each other. The target for these clubs is not the income-earning. it's the seniors. etc. hair coloring. people are definitely creatures of habit. but people do tend to have their #1 favorite in terms of where they buy their shampoo.

e. In most drug stores. but you must buy it between the first and 7th of the month.99 item. MAIL IN THE REBATE REQUEST. it's really free. but in some tourist destinations you have to ask the cashier for a copy of the rebate book. Here's how rebate club programs typically work: 1. They're trying to encourage repeat visits. a $7. because some manufacturers will offer a $3. the flyer is on a rack as you enter the store. The truth is that the stores cannot legally exclude any individual from getting the rebates. the first free item may earn you a 100% rebate.99 rebate for buying it. they don't want tourists with disposable cash to get a break on anything – especially if they're ready to pay full price without question. Be sure to process your . Others will be $1. I have found that some national chains offer the rebate club in all markets. 2. but it's really more trouble than it's worth.00 or $3. You have to check these carefully.99 bottle of sun tan lotion with a $7. i.00 off the purchase price of the item. CHECK THE OFFER DATES. but they only tell you this in the fine print. You will typically find items that are offered with a 100% rebate.00 rebate on a $2. but they don't want people buying it just because of that.) 3. 72 4. Apparently. $2. because they don't want low-dollar customers to take advantage of the rebates.going to buy $200 or $300 in prescriptions each month. REVIEW THE OFFERS. One major drug store chain that will go unnamed has started to stagger their rebate offers throughout the month. Or it could be that they only want to offer the book to seniors. GET THE REBATE BOOK OR FLYER. unless you are super-diligent and/or a frequent visitor to that store anyway. It's critical that you check the valid dates of the offer. the next item may also give you a 100% rebate. You may be a struggling young family with a little cash in the bank but you are entitled to get the rebates just like anyone else.00. but you have to purchase it between the 8th and 16th of the month. This is a subtle way by which they try to discourage the 'freebie' nuts that will take anything for free – even if they don't want or need it. (HINT: be a 'freebie' nut. In other words.

or write the product’s barcode number down on your rebate form. if you haven't gotten your rebate. CHECK THE POSTMARK DATE REQUIREMENTS. It's a good practice to photocopy everything and keep in a file. The retailers call this "breakage". because some of these stores will deny you the rebate if you don't do everything they say. If you want to be sure you get every extra dollar that's coming to you. you can photocopy your outer envelope with the postmark date. The sad truth is that a very high percentage of people who intend to mail in their rebate requests never quite get around to it. Another critical item is the postmark date on your mail-in rebate request. "I'll do it later" – because out of sight is out of mind. I was once denied a $50 rebate check because the store’s cash register didn’t date the receipt. After a few months. SIDE NOTE: if you are allowed to use your company postage meter. Some of the less-scrupulous clubs or their 3rd party vendors will try to get around sending you a rebate check. don't procrastinate: set a filing procedure that works for you and stick to it. 5. they lose their rebate – and that is what the drug store chains are counting on. if you are responding to a January Rebate Club offer. but you can bet that I called them out on it and eventually got my rebate. your mail-in request MUST be postmarked by February 5th. KEEP A PHOTO COPY. For most clubs. Read the fine print. Some rebates require that you cut out the barcode off the product. How does a cash register malfunction and not print the date? It’s beyond me. which is the next critical point. you'll have proof of mailing it in. What you DON'T want to do is say. or they will refuse it. exactly the way they say it. 6. Think you can ‘slide’? Don’t count on it. so they’ll use any and all excuses not to issue the rebate check. 7. READ THE REQUIREMENTS. Here's a rule that works for me: I don't allow myself to put the products away until I have completed the rebate forms AND sealed the envelope.rebate request and mail it off IMMEDIATELY when you get home. How did I do it? I had back-up ammunition. and most people will surely forget to do the paperwork – thus. and they are counting on you to procrastinate. That gives you positive proof that you mailed it 73 . The stores really don’t want to give you the rebate.

it's a huge kick to buy the next month's freebies with a gift card. 74 The downside of rebate clubs is that your cash is tied up for 30 to 60 . but only mail out checks to a small portion of the consumers. Proving this would be difficult. BUG 'EM IF THEY'RE LATE. It's cheaper for them than issuing checks. If your store puts your rebate amount on a gift card. it's good money management. but if you're denied a $50 or greater rebate like I was. Some companies intentionally do not mail rebate checks unless the consumer calls to complain. They're counting on a large number of respondents simply forgetting about it. Using my photocopies. It's a handy way to get a little extra cash back. USE YOUR GIFT CARD'S STORED VALUE FIRST. and simply turned my photocopies in to their regional managers. CASH SECOND. USE THE STORE'S GIFT CARD PLAN. And I wouldn't be shocked if the third party processing companies turn in 100% of the rebate requests to the retailer. 8. Plus. rather than have them issue you a check. Don't be afraid to call the rebate company if they're late mailing you a check. This may seem like a lot of work. So always use the credit before using real cash. Plus. use it first when making purchases at the store. which saves the rebate company a lot of cash. one major chain offers you a 10% 'bump' in your rebate total if you'll allow them to post the rebate amount to your rechargeable gift card. Some stores use a magnetic stripe gift card to provide rebate funds. and a welltimed call to a 1-800-number can often get you quick service on your rebate request. and you can't turn it in for cash. so you're actually getting more free stuff without spending any actual cash… 10. but on more than one occasion I have had a rebate processing company deny my rebate claiming that I violated rule X. 9. It may seem trivial. it becomes your word against theirs – and having a back-up plan can help settle the dispute in your favor. You don't earn interest by keeping the value on the card. but that's not my concern: I just want what's coming to me.within the proper timeframe. I've gone to the store manager and pointed out that I did everything I was asked to. then pay any remaining balance with cash. The store managers have always made good on the rebate offers.

Since you need them and are going to buy them anyway – regardless of the cost – it's well worth your time to apply for and get all the rebates that are available. the secret 'coupon police' in dark suits with sunglasses will come rushing in. and you'll be pinned to the floor with an AK47 pointed at your forehead. Well. The headline read. You can use the rebate amount to purchase the next month's rebate items. Most drug stores do NOT double coupons like the grocery stores do. many of which are only available from a pharmacy and not a dollar store." In checking the other coupons. The Most Amazing.00 off on three brand-name products! There are several things you should be aware of. presenting a second coupon for a single item will cause the cash register to error out. You only have to do this once. So I could easily get a total of $8. good on a select manufacturer's brand of soaps and shampoos: buy any 3 and get $3. I would suggest putting the purchases on a credit card. if you do it right. Why is it. when the rebate check arrives. that may be a little bit exaggerated. Rebate clubs give you money back on everyday items that you're probably buying already. Sorry – there is no way around this one. and the stores don't like it and won't accept it.) 75 .00 off coupons on several others. and $1. because stores in my area only double up to 50¢ – one up to 99¢ – and these coupons were all above that value. In most grocery stores. If you are really cash-strapped.00 store coupon issued by the retailer. Then. Alarms will go off. I found a $2. then. but you get the point: double-coupon presentment is fraud.00 off. Another secret about shopping at the big-box drug stores that you may never have heard of is the availability of multiple coupon redemption. that some drug stores not only accept it but ENCOURAGE it? It's true! A recent flyer in my Sunday newspaper showed a $3. (No big deal here. deposit it and IMMEDIATELY write a check in the exact amount to your credit card company. Well-Hidden Drug Store Shopping Secret. "Save even more with manufacturer coupons found in today's paper.00 off coupon on one brand of shampoo. however: • No Doubling.days while your rebate form is being processed.

bounce and shine – getting premium products makes all the difference in the world.00 on a total purchase price of $14 for three items is a bargain among bargains – you end up paying $2. And if you have teenagers in the family whose entire world revolves around hair volume.000 a year on drug store supplies! BIG IDEA 62: Rebate clubs give you money back on everyday items that you're probably buying already. the items are usually priced at full retail value – so you're starting from the highest price-point possible. Even if you're not super-diligent or the offers aren't that lucrative every month of the year. All that said. Saving $8. The rebate club offers can allow you to get as much as $50 in FREE merchandise each month.00 per item for premium products – in this case hair care items.• No Price Reductions. If you visit 3 stores a month. It gives you a double-whammy of savings and often makes it possible for you to buy the super-premium brands at a price that is less than the 'bargain' no-name products! 76 . BIG IDEA 63: Some drug store chains will let you redeem both STORE coupons and MANUFACTURER coupons for the same item. this one technique alone could save you over $1. you could literally get $150 in FREE stuff each month – up to $1. many of which are only available from a pharmacy and not a dollar store. When the drug store puts out savings like this.800 a year. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 10 BIG IDEA 61: Visit all of the major drug store chain stores in your area at least once a month. the savings are still well worth the effort of claiming them. Since you need them and are going to buy them anyway – regardless of the cost – it's well worth your time to apply for and get all of the rebates that are available. however. even if you don't normally shop there. at the same time.

the offer may require that you mail in the original coupon and not use a photocopy or printout off a rebate website. Another key thing to watch is the quantity per individual item that is allowed. Unless the fine print specifically says that all sizes and flavors qualify. The fine print may say that the offer is good on a particular brand of product. As always – there are details and conditions you have to know. Okay. A typical example is "$5 cash back when you buy 10 of your favorites!" The ad will show a photo of the items you have to buy to get the rebate. you can buy up to two of any particular item – any more of that item will not count towards the ten-item minimum. so be sure you follow them so you'll actually get the rebate check in the mail rather than a "we're sorry" notice.Chapter 11: A Rebate Returned is Money Earned INDIVIDUAL PRODUCT OR BRAND REBATES: Are they worth the effort? YES!!! One way that manufacturers attempt to boost the sales of their entire product line is to offer a cash back deal when you buy a certain number of their products. minus the cost of the envelope and stamp to mail it back in. read it. The offer may require that you send in the original cash register receipt for each of the 10 items. Also. but the photo may show a certain flavor or packaging style of that product. Remember that this offer gives you back $0. using the 'buy 10' offer as an example. They may require a certain size / flavor / packaging of the product (12 oz. assume that their 77 . cans of Fizzy-Soda may not qualify if the coupon specifically requires that you buy 16 oz. In this case. so this one is obvious.50 per item purchased. and understand it BEFORE you shop – or you could be off the rebate money. circling each of the ten on the receipt. so you can't use last week's receipt if the starting date is from this week's newspaper. 1. READ THE FINE PRINT.) There may be a date limit to your purchase. LOOK AT THE PHOTO. But instead of just giving the fine print a cursory glance. 2. Here are some of the 'secrets' of gaining the best value with a rebate. bottles of Fizzy-Soda.

Here's why: a.50 $0.00 (50¢ coupon) $0.00 ($13.89 Can Green Beans $1.30) $0.29 ($0.99 $1. Here's why: Item Cost Retail Price Savings With Doubled Coupons Rebate Amount On This Item Net Cost of Item After Rebate AND Coupons Net Cost of Item After Rebate Only (No Coupons) Cereal A $3.39 $0.39 $1.78 Quantity 2 ($0.50 - $2. the photo shows the higher-priced items – kids-size yogurt tubes.99 $1. plus they have many lower cost items like refried beans which are often priced at less than $1.00 per can.70 (35¢ coupon) $1.70 (35¢ coupon) $0.50 $0. A little detective work can often greatly increase the value you get from the rebate. and use coupons when purchasing as many of the 10 items as possible. While the name brand canned vegetables are typically more expensive than the store brands.49 $19.50 $1.89 each) Frozen Carrots $1.intention is that you buy the one shown in the photo. Other products are listed in the fine print as qualifying for the offer.30 ($5. In one example.10 (55¢ coupon) $1. kids' fruit snacks.00 (qty.09 $3.78 $0.50 $0.49 $2.50 $0.39 $11.39 Frozen Waffle Sticks $3.59 Croissants in a Tube $1.89 $2.30) $0. The Mexican food line is also heavily couponed. but they're not shown in the photo. your mission should be to purchase the 10 lowest-price items that will qualify for the offer.10 (55¢ coupon) $1.89 $3. meaning you can find coupons for these items every day in numerous places.10 (55¢ coupon) $0. LOOK AT WHAT'S NOT IN THE PHOTO.09 $1.30 TOTAL SAVINGS $0 78 $1.70 (35¢ coupon) $1. c.80 (40¢ coupon) $0.50 $0. canned vegetables and their entire line of Mexican food products.99 FINAL COST $24. See if you can guess why these items weren't shown: soup. and you can also find coupons for them from time to time. 2) $0.01) $0.08 $3.50 $0.59 Baking Mix $3.39 $1. The soup line is already heavily couponed.59 Yogurt in a Tube $3.59 $0. meal helper mixes – mostly the highest-priced items in the offer.49 Biscuits in a Tube $1. yogurt drinks. b. 3.09 $2.00) .10 (55¢ coupon) ($8. they're also on sale quite frequently. To get the maximum value for your effort.99 'Helper' Meal Mix $2.

you can save an extra $10. but this one technique can generate $100 to $300 per year in savings: it's like getting your groceries FREE for 1 or 2 weeks out of the year. The manufacturers are counting on you NOT to make the effort. you'll save over 45% on the same groceries! Big Idea Recap – Chapter 11 BIG IDEA 64: There’s no doubt about it: mail-in rebates are a real pain in the neck.As you can see. But if you use the coupons in combination with the rebate. due to all of the paperwork you have to complete. the rebate was a good deal to begin with – by itself it saved you almost 26% on the groceries. It doesn't sound like much. But if you DO make the effort. $20 or $30 a month on groceries. 79 .

80 .

The Jones family earns a salary of $36. For an example. This gives them a total spending allotment of $600 per month. for an even average take-home amount of $100 per day. We're talking about flour. Restaurants must maintain their budgets and a high level of profit margin.Chapter 12: The Economics of Food Grocery Selections = Operating Margin In the restaurant business – as in any business – the difference between the COST OF THE INGREDIENTS and the SALE PRICE of the prepared food item is called the MARGIN. if they are to remain viable and profitable. or a total of $21. 81 . Learning how to control your margin can make a huge difference in how well your family lives. Assuming that the Jones family eats every breakfast and dinner at home. Here's how this $100 per day is spent: Mortgage: 35% Utilities: 10% Home Maintenance: 5% Insurance / Health Care: 10% Clothing / Personal: 10% Auto: 5% Savings / Retirement: 5% Food / Entertainment: 20% TOTAL: 100% This family's budget for food and entertainment is $20 per day. let's look at a fictitious family. (Note that this is DIFFERENT from the FEATURED ingredients or SPECIALTY items). and 'brown bags' their lunches. etc.43 per day on meals. This margin of profitability determines how much PROFIT the restaurant will make at the end of the day. – items they use each and every day. spices. This is the primary reason that chefs look for the lowest-cost provider of the CORE ingredients they use in their restaurant. Your home budget has a MARGIN as well. dairy products.500 per year after taxes. they can spend a total of $150 per week at the grocery store.

Often. cancel their insurance. The success of your family's annual budget depends on staying within or below your budgetary margin consistently. the MARGIN determines whether the establishment will show a profit at the end of the month or not. the family budget will fail and the family will eventually declare bankruptcy or lean on parents or other relatives to bail them out financially. the family must do without new clothing. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 12 BIG IDEA 65: Operate your home kitchen the same way that a professional chef operates his or her kitchen: as a business.The MARGIN for the Jones family is whether they can actually feed their family on $21. So let's take a look at smart choices you can make to get the absolute most out of your grocery dollar. Operate your home kitchen the same way that a professional chef operates their kitchen: as a business. the owner doesn't get a paycheck. month after month.43 per day. or whether they will need to take money away from the other budgeted items to meet their grocery bill. the area that must give way is the owner's paycheck. If the restaurant consistently fails to create a margin of profit. or reduce in one of the other areas. The success of your family's annual budget depends on staying within – or below – your budgetary margin consistently. This is why it is important to stretch your family budget as much as possible. reduce or eliminate their savings. Every item that you can buy for less will IMPROVE your operating margin. If the restaurant doesn't show a profit. Every item that you can buy for less will IMPROVE your operating margin. and why the choices you make at the grocery store CAN and WILL impact all areas of your family's life. 82 . every item that you pay full price for will DETRACT from your operating margin. month after month. If the family's total expenditure consistently outstrips their income. At a restaurant. every item that you pay full price for will DETRACT from your operating margin. the business will fail. At the Jones household. if the food expenditure exceeds the budgeted 20%.

totally apart from using coupons or obtaining store discounts. I'm not a doctor. household supplies and personal care items. 83 . That approach simply doesn't work if you have a fulltime job. get some professional advice. telling you that you only need to buy a sack of flour. let's leave it at that. and frankly I don't care what foods you choose to buy or eat. some eggs. Another thing I'm not advocating is a change in your diet. Mom needs a break too. and put a plan in place. They are: • BUY BIG. let alone tackle a return to an allnatural lifestyle. Get larger sizes of items. as long as you and your family can consume them before they expire or lose their freshness. If you want to change your diet. Many writers have covered that territory. What I hope to do here is give you some ideas on how to enjoy the foods you want to eat. milk and a few ingredients and grow everything else in your backyard. This same rule of thumb applies to hundreds of everyday grocery items. It doesn't fit too well with modern life. consider buying the big jar every 4 weeks. while paying less for them. Most of us need or justifiably want the conveniences of prepared foods to reduce our time in the kitchen. That's nice if your cup of tea is cooking everything from scratch and tending a garden for two or three hours a day. that's fine. a social life. That's all. go see your doctor. There are three major ways to cut your grocery bill. you know. The big jar typically contains twice as much. but by selecting the smallest package you are probably paying more per ounce than if you bought the bigger package. If you typically buy a small jar of peanut butter every two weeks. but only costs about 40% to 50% more. I don't advocate going 'back to your roots' and only buying raw materials. You may be in the habit of buying the smallest item because you want the least-expensive item. and/or kids in school. Most of us are lucky to find a halfhour to ourselves every other day.Chapter 13: Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients Let me start by saying that I'm not preaching here.

pork. rice and sauce.00. Sweet Potatoes. 84 . as long as the items are not highly perishable or they have a fairly decent shelf life. and cooking the same meal from scratch could cost you less than half this much. stock up & save. rather than preassembled mixtures of core ingredients. Currently. even if you won't need them for six months or a year. etc. Select according to your taste & dietary preferences. if it's available now at half the cost or below. • Alternative Core Ingredients: Tofu. As long as you will eventually consume the item. Stock up when items are on sale. Buy the core ingredients of recipes.• MAKE TIMELY BUYS. A frozen dinner mixture may contain bite-size nuggets of chicken. But buy the primary ingredients of recipes rather than the put-together final products. Grits. • BUY BASIC. bag of food is an appetizer…) That's not too bad. when you consider the cost of eating the same type of meal at a restaurant. and will sort of feed the average four-person family adequately. Find the logical middle ground that works for you and your schedule. beef. Put two or three of the item on your back shelf. plus chopped broccoli. Let's use a frozen all-in-one dinner mix as an example. you may not use any of the following core ingredients in your food selections. There is a middle ground between buying a prepared baking mixture and growing your own wheat. Again. Bulgar Wheat. but for most families they are already a core part of their diet – often without consciously selecting them: • Potatoes • Onions • Carrots • Tomatoes • Mixed Vegetables – Seasonal • Rice • Pasta • Meats: chicken. A bag of this mixture probably costs about $5. How? Let's look at the core ingredients. (unless you have teenagers and a 5 lb.00 to $6. invest in additional units of items when they are at their lowest cost. But it's not the best you can do price-wise.

because they were cooked a few months ago and frozen. It's sustenance.The pre-blended mixture contains roughly the following ingredients: . . am I saying that ALL pre-mixed dinners or boxes of pre-cooked side dishes are bad? NO – of course not! The food companies are not bad people. except there's usually not as much chicken as you would like. isn't it? PERISH THE THOUGHT! Dinnertime should be about enjoying your food.One to one and a half chicken breasts cut in pieces. the fresh vegetables can actually be higher. cooked broccoli . The quality of the food is reasonably acceptable. chopped .Two or three cups of chopped. the garlic isn't really zingy. and you can save a lot of time and effort by using them. starting from core ingredients will almost always be less expensive.One or two garlic cloves.1/4 cup of soy sauce . Are All Mixes Bad? Of Course Not! Now. and that's what dinnertime is all about. savoring the taste. it's an okay meal. And. but nothing to rave about. because it was chopped. But just be aware that you are paying a price for this convenience. sliced . doesn't it? You dump the contents of the bag into a saucepan. In some cases. The vast majority of these pre-mixed food items are very high in quality.One or two cooked carrots. cooked and frozen a long time ago. So overall. and they're not idiots. 85 .Various preservatives and chemicals (sorry. and it's ready to serve.Various spices in minute amounts . either. The cost difference between frozen / boxed / dehydrated vegetables and fresh vegetables is not always huge. had to mention this…) Sounds like a lot. cook on low for about 10 minutes.Two or three cups of cooked rice . color and smell of a fresh-cooked meal – that's the difference between simply eating and eating well. The broccoli and carrots are kind of mushy. But in combination with all of the other elements that go into a meal.

WHICH you wouldn't ever do. and you have a coupon for them. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 13 BIG IDEA 66: By using core ingredients to prepare your family's meals. Pre-packaged meals can cost up to 5 times as much as the same meal prepared from scratch. IF you were starting from scratch. resulting in better quality for less money. so they'll be on hand when you need them. would you make fresh stuffing if you had to start with the bread and spices and mix it all yourself? Probably not. you are paying a HUGE mark-up for the service. it's made of bread and spices. So no – it's NOT bad stuff. Develop a set of time-saving recipes that use core ingredients. the more you will lower your cost of food. the bigger the package. the lower the cost per serving. you can go back to the core ingredients and replicate these mixes with fresh ingredients. and they can save you a lot of time. you can reduce your total cost of food. 86 . or the items you buy are very perishable. many. Is it bad stuff? Well. Stock up on them when the pricing is right. when you buy pre-mixed / preseasoned / prepared meals. many of these pre-mixed food products are very good. But for everyone / everything else.Variety – and Pre-Mixed Foods – Can Be A GOOD Thing! Some pre-mixed or prepared foods allow you to enjoy items you would rarely cook from scratch – if ever. it's actually pretty darned good stuff! The moral of this story: many. the smaller the package – the greater the cost per ounce / pound. All I'm suggesting here is that you buy them when they're on sale. Just remember this: in most cases. or you eat like a church mouse. you can have fresh stuffing in about 5 or 10 minutes. so it's just about the same thing YOU would make. If you are cooking for one. buying small makes sense. For example. and you can easily cut your food costs in HALF. BIG IDEA 67: Generally speaking. And in many cases. But with a box of ready-to-go stuffing mix. The more you get back to basics in your meal preparation.

grab it.BIG IDEA 68: When you see a bargain. grab 2 or 3 and stash them away for future use. The more you get back to basics in your meal preparation. you are paying a HUGE mark-up for the service. If it's a non-perishable item. BIG IDEA 69: Whenever you buy pre-mixed / pre-seasoned / prepared meals. You'll be investing a little cash now. 87 . but you'll be saving a lot of cash down the road. the more you will lower your cost of food.

88 .

A few minor enhancements can do wonders. simple. 89 . and delicious. Real Cooking Let me be frank here: cooking is actually very. It's hard to top perfection. Example: a tomato. whip them. you might add a little butter or tiny touch of brown sugar. many Chinese and Japanese dishes revolve around rice. of course. With the majority of foods. Add a touch of seasoning and they're on just about everyone's top-10 list. A little enhancement can make a world of difference. but deep down basic food is pretty darn good to begin with! Example: a carrot. sauté them – you can do a 1. and many Indian and southern Asian dishes revolve around a vegetable base. fry them. many Irish dishes revolve around potatoes. very simple. and it's wonderful on the palate.001 things with a potato. but you can't improve on the pure nutrition that is built into the spud. They are wonderfully complex yet simple at the same time. scan down the menu and count the dishes that are based on one core ingredient.Chapter 14: Real Food. Don't get me started. some dishes are more elaborate and require multiple base items. but overall it's incredibly packed with flavor – right out of the ground. they're tremendous in a million different ways. Cook them. Many Italian dishes revolve around pasta. Cook it until tender. there are exceptions to every rule. The greatest chefs in the world all cook the same way: they start with a core ingredient at the base and then they add something to it to make it unique. It rarely needs any improvement. simple is best: the basic flavor of the core ingredients is pure. You really don't have to do a lot of fancy cooking to make good food when you start with nature's finest. Yes. Tomatoes are so flavorpacked. Example: a potato. and then count the dishes that have multiple core ingredients. many middleeastern dishes revolve around grains. Granted. But the next time you are in your favorite restaurant. You will be amazed at how simple the vast majority of dishes really are. Of course.

Wash it off. Take a potato. Serve with your choice of toppings (cheese. I want to change the way you think about cooking. BUYING THEIR MIX = SIMPLICITY and COMFORT. And yes. Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. I know you're thinking: "I'm too busy to cook. Poke holes in it with a fork. Wean yourself from the notion that cooking is difficult. and the family goes wild with glee at the wonderful taste and nutrition. It's the key to seriously reducing your food budget. Take a taco shell out of the package. 90 . I don't have time to cook". Microwave it for 5 to 7 minutes. Think of how many commercials you've seen where the wife heats up a ready-to-eat dish of pre-mixed stuff. We're all too busy these days to even think about cooking. sour cream or plain yogurt. I have to use premade mixes. Top with cheese (I like mozzarella on mine). PEOPLE! They are conditioning you to think that COOKING = HARD WORK and PAIN. here are five dinners you can cook in LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES (and actually less than 1 minute if you're fast…) 1. you'll discover that it simply doesn’t have to be that difficult. if you approach it correctly. too. butter or butter substitute. so you'll buy their pre-cooked meals.) 2. too!) They always show how the preparation takes just a minute or two. Cooking can be one of the simplest things in your life. bacon bits. Shake some sea salt on the outside. Serve with salsa. cooking from scratch (or at least using a few core ingredients) can be JUST AS EASY. (And by the way. BAKED POTATO. why is it always the WIFE? We husbands cook. THIS IS BRAINWASHING. To make my point. In reality. The food industry WANTS you to think that cooking is difficult. etc. let alone crack open the recipe book. TACOS. and the end results are always perfect. Add a few scoops of canned chunky chili. If people knew how easy it is to cook from scratch – at a fraction of the price of buying their prepackaged meals – they wouldn't make as much money.Okay. If you can change your mindset about core ingredients and what it MEANS to cook. you have a valid point.

and you've got a quick cheesy meal. exciting cooking is to vary the sauces. seasonings and styles of the additional items you add to your core ingredients. then toss on top of the rice and add a little soy sauce. and it's very tasty. so it's very cheap as well. It's fast. As I mentioned above. Feel free to share your favorites with friends. and you've got a spicy oriental soup that makes a very enjoyable dinner. you can sauté these in a frying pan with a little hot pepper oil while the noodles are cooking. chop up a tomato. bowties. it takes 10 to 15 minutes to cook. Sure. cook a pot of rice on Sunday and keep it in the fridge all week long. whatever. RICE WITH VEGGIES.grocerysavings. maybe some squash and carrots. One bag will make about 5 or 6 dinners. put into a bowl. The secret to innovative. ALFREDO A LA QUICKIE. it will be good as new.3. It's quick – it's tasty – and you'll think you ordered take out. you can also buy a bag of frozen veggies and use just a tiny portion. but you only have to stir them once in a while. You'll get new ones every week by email if you subscribe to my membership site located at www. add a little water.) Sauté these with a little hot pepper oil until tender. toss in the noodles. put 2 cups of the rice in a pot. drain. Toss them into the finished soup. and add that. You heat 2 cups of water until boiling. 4. elbow. You could also sauté some meat or seafood if you'd like.) Shake some powdered parmesan or romano cheese on top. Not too exciting. and chop in a few chunks of butter (or butter substitute if you're watching your cholesterol. and heat on low for 5 minutes. 5. 91 . You know what these are. There are hundreds of these types of recipes out there. When they're done. RAMEN NOODLES. To top it. most restaurant menu items are just a core ingredient with enhancements.us. My kids love this one: boil up a box of noodles – any kind – such as ziti. add some pepper and salt. (For convenience. If you're constantly stretched for time. When you need to make a quick lunch or dinner. they're the little "6 for $1" packages of noodles. So vary your enhancements. and they're ready in 3 minutes. BUT – if you buy a bag of frozen Chinese vegetables and a bag of pre-cooked peeled shrimp.

BIG IDEA 72: Wean yourself from the notion that cooking is difficult. you can cut your food costs in half. too. and you'll eat better. But first – you have to become an expert at cooking the core ingredients. and you'll keep your menu vibrant and inviting. you're doing it wrong! Do it right. It's the key to seriously reducing your food budget. healthier food every day. Plus. if you approach it correctly. try new things. BIG IDEA 71: The food industry wants to DISCOURAGE you from cooking. you'll be saving LOTS of money. If you start building a list of quick. so you'll buy their over-priced pre-mixed dinners. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 14 BIG IDEA 70: You really don't have to do a lot of fancy cooking to make good food when you start with nature's finest. easy-to-cook recipes that use CORE INGREDIENTS and that your family enjoys. 92 . If it is. It's hard to top perfection.experiment. Cooking can be one of the simplest things in your life. BIG IDEA 73: Cooking fast & delicious meals for yourself and your family should not be a chore.

(HINT: nature made this recipe easy. I would suggest that you take an inventory of your appliances. (HINT: boil a pot of water. this chapter will be critical to your success in weaning yourself from pre-packaged meals. • If you can learn to make rice. two cups of water. (Have you seen those 'potato martinis' they serve in the fanciest restaurants? They're nothing more than mashed potatoes topped with sautéed meats and vegetables. They can save you huge amounts of time in the kitchen. Easy. you can make Italian food with your hands tied. and many just about do all the work for you. nutritious dinner. Once you've got your own system down. If they're still too hard at 10 minutes.) • If you can peel & boil potatoes. This doesn't have to be expensive. and they frequently give $5 and $10 rebates for buying them. Get familiar with cooking core ingredients from scratch. Heck. We are so lucky today to have time-saving appliances available for every conceivable kitchen task. So if you want to take control of your food budget and really cut your dependency on packaged meals. One cup of rice. cook 'em a few minutes more. the rest is a cakewalk. It's always double the water for a single unit of rice. you can add countless varieties of toppings for a healthy. If you can really get the hang of cooking core ingredients. the rest of the cooking process is a breeze. easy to remember. the rest – pun fully intended – is gravy. Stir it once in a while. If you're cooking-challenged. you've got the basic foundation for about half a gazillion Chinese recipes.Chapter 15: A System for Cooking = A System for Savings How to Develop a System for Cooking Core Ingredients.) • If you can learn to boil noodles. Set your timer to 10 minutes. 93 . GOOD APPLIANCES CAN HELP. Investing in a few basic items could really make your life easier. What a novel idea!) Once you determine how best to cook your core ingredients. the local pharmacy sells appliances now.

water and salt / pepper in the pot. and it's chopped in about 5 seconds. For some reason. so there's not a lot of clean-up. It will be the best chicken soup 94 . Plus. But hey. The same thing goes for carrots. They shouldn't – because a pressure cooker can cut your cooking time by 50% or more – and they lock all the nutrients into your food. those of us on the front-line of the family-feeding war need all the help we can get. You don't need to watch it. PRESSURE COOKER. And the bowl. And let me share a secret that every fine Italian cook will tell you: buy a block of hard cheese and grate it in your mini-processor just before serving over your pasta. a pressure cooker can make even the cheapest cuts of meat tender. You dump your ingredients in. Now.) They make excellent chicken soup (put a chicken. press the "chop" button. It’s the ideal cooking helper. and if the family won't eat what we cook – what good is it? So cook what your family loves.Listed below are some items that I couldn't live without. and your meat will fall off the fork. Buy a huge bag. especially if you’ve got small kids to tend to. scallions. and in 15 minutes or so your rice is done perfectly. It's our job to keep the family happy. stir it or tend to it in any way. A good processor will cut your cooking time by half. plug it in. and they'll love you back all the more. Peel an onion. vegetables. They're great for stews (cook for 15 minutes. turn off the heat and let it sit for 30 minutes. And as a bonus – rice is still very reasonably priced. kids just love rice. garlic. squash – basically any hard vegetable. They’re also ideal for grating hard cheeses. RICE COOKER. One of the easiest things to cook is rice – and one of the best time-savers is to get a rice cooker. cool for 30 minutes. Plus. It will make an ordinary meal extraordinary. and save. cut it into 4 pieces and drop it in the processor. FOOD PROCESSOR (or mini-processor if you're single or you've got a small family). some of you nutritional purists will shudder at some of these suggestions. once the pressure weight is rocking cook it for 20 minutes. blades & cover all go right into the dishwasher. these scare the daylights out of most people.

95 . cauliflower. Cool the cooker immediately and remove the chops. carrots – and get some fresh peeled shrimp. Just sear your chops in the pressure cooker in a little oil (adding garlic. turn up the heat. It's not THAT bad for you from time to time… I bought a family-sized fryer at the drug store for $20 after rebate. if you want to reduce the amount of fried foods you serve but still add the flavor and appeal of fried foods to your menu. Close the pressure cooker. it's a nutritional crime. I like to remove them. They'll be fully-cooked. and deep fry the veggies and shrimp in the fryer. Mix up some tempura batter. Make a pot of Japanese noodles – soba noodles are available in many import shops. I can take a basic potato – probably costing about 25 cents or less – and create restaurant-quality fries in about 10 minutes. Chop up some vegetables – broccoli. But admit your vice and face your fears. You just have to get over the 'guilt' factor and admit that most people love fried foods. Add 3/4 cup water. and cook for about 10 minutes once the weight starts rocking. cool the cooker immediately with cold water. The only difference: you've saved at least an hour of cooking time! They're ideal for cutting the time required to cook vegetables (cooks in 1 to 5 minutes after the pressure weight starts rocking. Yes. salt & pepper for flavor) for about 3 minutes on each side. Now. But what do the kids order every time you're in a restaurant? Heck. Plus. top with bread crumbs. Yes. and your veggies are ready to serve. It's really a great appliance.) They can cut an hour or more out of the cooking time required for meats such as pork chops. try this. try pressure-cooking in your household and you'll be a convert for life. and brown in the broiler for about 3 minutes.) Get over the fear. Serve over the soba noodles and soup and you've got a dynamic Japanese meal that the family will love. Heat up some chicken broth for the soup. it makes them look more appetizing and more like oven-baked chops. DEEP FRYER. I know people want to live "healthy" and avoid fried foods. tender and ready-to-eat. what do you order when you're in a restaurant? Being able to cook restaurant-quality fried foods in your household can significantly reduce your food budget.you've ever had.

you've minimized the amount of fried foods you're serving. 96 . of course. This appliance is indispensable in my household.) Grate an onion as well. Plus. Mix it all together with salt & pepper. You see? A deep fryer is NOT the evil device you thought it was…! ELECTRIC GRIDDLE. hearty breakfast or side dish. One of my favorites is hash brown potatoes. But it’s also ideal for dozens of other recipes as well. and you don’t skin your knuckles. cheaper – and more nutritious for your family. The #1 use. it will help you switch to a "fresh cooked" diet rather than a "frozen / reheated" diet – which can save you big bucks on your groceries. and the taste won’t even come close to that of the home-made recipe. is to make pancakes. Spread the mixture all across your griddle and cook on medium-high heat for 15 minutes. The result is a flavorful. The frozen hash browns in your grocer’s freezer will cost about 3 times that amount. Grate 3 or 4 potatoes in your food processor (SO much easier than grating by hand. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 15 BIG IDEA 74: Adding a few inexpensive appliances to your kitchen will make cooking easier. Total cost for 8 servings: about 15¢ a serving. Oil your griddle lightly. Cut into 8 squares and flip each square and cook for another 10 minutes or so.

Again. If your schedule is SO TIGHT that you absolutely could not find 5 minutes anywhere – and your life is literally on a stopwatch every minute of the day – you probably have a personal shopper and a personal chef. You had enough time to buy the bag of premade stuff. heat the glop and dish it up.Chapter 16: Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier. For everyone else. . you'll probably find 20 or 30 minutes to eat the meal. you're going to find enough time to get out a pan. see if somewhere in your busy day you could find just 5 minutes to steal and re-apply to meal preparation. . and the way you prepare your meals.There's no time to cook. consider the alternative answers. add the glop. didn't you? Consider that you could buy a variety of core ingredients – many of which are also found in the freezer section – with just a few extra minutes of shopping time. the recipes you use (or don't use).I hate to cook.My family wouldn't know the difference anyway. I'm pretty sure you can find the five minutes! You can cook fresh meals from CORE INGREDIENTS in almost the same amount of time it takes to heat up a pre-mixed meal. Plus. and you 97 . – I'm too busy to shop. Consider some simple steps in the way you approach cooking. – There's no time to cook. . Consider some minor alterations to the ingredients you buy. The reward will be meals that can be much tastier and probably a lot healthier for you and your family. The moral of this story is this: you're already devoting a certain amount of time to meal preparation.I'm too busy to shop. Healthier Meals Why do so few people cook fresh meals? Do you give any credibility to these common myths: . Now. Then.

in this case). enjoy better meals. many people simply DUMP bags or cans of glop into saucepans and heat it up. because it's what they've always eaten. They eat what they're given. Look at the ingredients of the sauce: it's full of modified food starch. Don't you think that might be healthier than a ton of food starch and preservatives? YES! Do you think you might feel better by eating allnatural ingredients? YES! The proof is in the pudding (or pasta. – My family wouldn't know the difference anyway. Take it one step at a time. I call this QUICK COOKING. But I'd like to propose an alternative to cooking. and if you do it right it won't take you a lot of extra time. add a few pennies worth of spices. People eat bottled spaghetti sauce over pasta. you CAN learn to cook quick fast.can save time. Your family WILL notice the difference and chances are they'll thank you for the improvement. What if you could just dump DIFFERENT bags or cans of stuff into the same pot. and even the most die-hard mageirocophobiac (person with an intense fear of cooking) can become an efficient quick cooking expert and save money on food with a little patience. simple meals that your family will love. The reason many families are oblivious to the taste or quality of their food is that they've never experienced real cooking. and lower your food costs. and enjoy it a whole lot more. "QUICK COOKING" will allow you to produce quality meals for less. A lot of people choose DUMPING over COOKING. – I hate to cook. in the interest of saving time. because it's all that they know. The one and only ingredient in the can of tomatoes is TOMATOES. It will make your meals extra special. It FILLS you up but is it good for you? You can buy a can of crushed tomatoes for less than the can of prepared sauce. with almost no additional 98 . though. and make a much more satisfying and healthy meal. Even if you DETEST setting foot in the kitchen. This is a valid concern if you view cooking as a chore – which many people do. they don't expect anything better. which is nothing more than a filler and it's aptly named. To avoid cooking. You might be surprised on this one. even if you find the recipe for boiling water too difficult.

most cuisines – from the most basic to the most exotic – are variations on a theme.uncooked Oatmeal . turn on the stove.investment of your time.large drum. The chef (or food manager. in the case of packaged foods). any fresh vegetable Boneless. canned beans "Closeout" fresh vegetables (items that the store must sell today or throw away) HIGH-PRICED PREPARED ITEM Pre-cooked rice in frozen dinners Frozen French fries.canned Fresh broccoli. You end up taking the same basic steps you do now: open a can. Here are some of the core ingredients that you can buy at the source as fresh ingredients. skinless chicken breasts Pasta . frozen or tube biscuit dough. and the high-priced alternatives they replace. prepared meals with tiny portions Pre-baked biscuits. poultry and fish Baking Mix Homemade sauces & gravies Fresh tortillas. etc. etc. beans. You're just being more selective in what you're putting into the pan. starts with a core ingredient or multiple core ingredients. frozen waffles Cans or jars of sauce. LOW-COST CORE INGREDIENT Rice . frozen Prepared spaghetti sauce Frozen or canned vegetables Tiny amounts of chicken found in prepared dinners Canned noodle dinners or pasta mix meals Tiny packets of partially-cooked dried oatmeal Baked loaves of bread Frozen. or packets of dry gravy mix Frozen Mexican food dinners Vegetable soup in the can 99 . With just a few minutes of planning. whatever you choose to cook. a vegan or a Venutian. it doesn't matter if you're a meat-eater or a vegetarian. Insider Secret: You're Already Buying Core Ingredients – But Not At Their Source! As previously mentioned. uncooked Bread flour Fresh meats.dry Potatoes . To these they add a variety of topping or add-ins to create the final meal that you eat. you can follow these tips and start cooking and eating better and cheaper. pull out a pan. For the sake of this discussion. dry potato flakes. how do we handle this "QUICK COOKING" without a lot of work and clean up? Let's look at a few core meal ingredients and how you can use them to create dozens of exciting.fresh potato wedges. rip open a bag. Tomatoes . Okay. carrots. delicious recipes. cheese. and how you're doing it. you can make TREMENDOUS changes in the cost of your meals as well as your family's satisfaction with them.

Determine what you have to work with first (i. even if 100 . Think of food ingredients the way the chefs do: as building blocks to fine meals. and you will save tremendous amounts of money. b. • TECHNIQUE to quickly prepare and cook your meals using some core sauces. what's cheapest / freshest). • FLEXIBILITY to mix and match the ingredients that you can buy economically. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 16 BIG IDEA 75: Regardless of how little or how much time you have to shop. then decide what you're going to build and how you're going to build it. let's look at: a. BIG IDEA 76: You can cook fresh meals from CORE INGREDIENTS in almost the same amount of time as heating up a pre-mixed meal. store. and serve nutritious meals your family will actually eat. To get a handle on how remarkably simple these three steps can be. The way you plan your menus. BIG IDEA 77: Even if you DETEST setting foot in the kitchen. train yourself to select CORE INGREDIENTS rather than pre-mixed meals.The secret to feeding your family well – with tasty and enticing food on a bargain-basement budget. having them accessible.e. c. and you can save time – enjoy better meals – and lower your food costs. The way you buy these items. seasonings and styles that are appropriate for your family's eating habits. (more about this later). Consider some simple steps in the way you approach cooking. with no time to cook and no time to shop – is in three key steps: • AVAILABILITY of economical core ingredients. The best way for YOU to cook.

what's cheapest / freshest). simple meals that your family will love. with almost no additional investment of your time. Determine what you have to work with first (i. 101 .e.you find the recipe for boiling water too difficult. then decide what you're going to build and how you're going to build it. you CAN learn to quick fast. BIG IDEA 79: Think of food ingredients the way the fine chefs do: as building blocks to fine meals. BIG IDEA 78: "QUICK COOKING" will allow you to produce quality meals for less.

102 .

Nature came up with a very easy 103 . they can charge whatever they'd like for the items in the restaurant? Well. tonight's special will be flounder. Great chefs plan their menu when they go to the market. If shrimp is on sale. The fastest way is with a pressure cooker or a rice cooker. don't you sometimes choose the special? Another reason to choose the chef 's special is abundance. which do you think will taste better? CHEAPEST can often mean BEST when it comes to food selections. It may be the farmer's market. If the chef 's special sounds appealing and it costs a few dollars less than the other items. But that doesn't mean people will pay. or the wholesale meat market. because they are being harvested now – not six months ago.Chapter 17: Planning Your Menus How to choose value ingredients to make luxury meals. Surely. If flounder is in abundance at the fish market and the price is lower than that of the other fish. That's because those items are in most abundant supply – and therefore the lowest in cost – are usually the freshest. How to Cook Delicious. Think of your own dining experiences. If the flounder is fresh and the other choices start out frozen. When an item is in abundance. tonight's special will be shrimp. it's often because the item is in season – and hence is very fresh and is available in large quantities. You may wonder why the chefs use this method. the fresh seafood market. Nutritious Meals With Your Core Items Let's review how a variety of core ingredients can be prepared. Do you know how the world's greatest chefs decide their menus? Ask any chef what they will be cooking tonight. RICE Rice can be made from 'scratch' very easily. then enhanced with additional ingredients to create unique meals. technically they can. and they'll tell you that it depends on what is in season.

Continue microwaving for 1 minute at a time until done. Sounds pretty easy. huh? You may want to add a dash of sea salt. consider making a large pot of rice on Monday and using it in your recipes throughout the week.) Oatmeal is one of the only foods that actually cooks better in a microwave than it does on the stove. and you'll eat fresh-cooked quality with every meal. in a matter of minutes. 104 . Just store the leftover rice in a plastic storage bowl. lightly beat one or two eggs in a bowl (but not so much that bubbles form).recipe for rice: 1 part rice. add to the rice mixture and flip after a minute or so. you travel a lot and can't leave fresh food in the refrigerator. straight from nature: 1 part oatmeal. mix 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1 cup of water or milk. try freezing your rice in small plastic containers. and vegetables. Microwave for about 3 minutes. Try it. beef. For fried rice. 2 parts water. chicken bouillon. sashimi (imitation crab). just add a little water. if you like it richer. i. soy sauce. Add a splash of teriyaki. Make a large quantity of your core ingredients. simply heat some oil in a frying pan then add your rice and cook until slightly browned.e. Worcestershire sauce. Let it steam for a few minutes. Recipes. then add your other ingredients. barbecue sauce or any other ingredients you like. but it's usually best just to cook plain white rice. You can 'nuke' rice back to health in your microwave. If your meals are more infrequent. 2 parts water (or milk. nothing could be simpler. Some simple ideas are to add pre-cooked chicken. cover and heat. saffron or other spices. You'll cut vast amounts of time out of your cooking procedures. then stir and cover with a plate to prevent splashing. you'll be amazed at how smooth and creamy it comes out! For one serving. There are countless ways to make tasty meals with rice. For families on the go. For egg fu yung. See? Cooking can be easy and fun! OATMEAL Oatmeal has the same simple recipe. To reheat. and be ready to reheat them quickly for individual meals.

the possibilities for using potatoes in recipes are endless. for variety. microwave or fry potatoes in many different ways. and they learned many different recipes to add variety. etc. etc. sour cream. They're fat free. Dinner: Serve them baked. full of fiber. mashed. Add cheese.50 for a 5-lb. just peel and boil your potatoes until fully cooked. These additives have 105 . To prepare a base supply of potatoes early in the week. they can be a healthy choice too. consult a recipe book and you'll be amazed at the uses for potatoes. and you've got a delicious baked potato that can serve as your main course.00 or $2. to make a tasty meal. cooked broccoli. Potatoes are an excellent addition to a hearty breakfast.. Again. Then. etc. bake. Add a little cheese. bacon bits. Use them as a 'base' with stew or sautéed veggies on top.. most nutritious foods in the grocery store. You can boil. chopped scallions. hot sauce. Recipes: Again. That works out to about 25 cents per potato – one of the cheapest. The thing to bear in mind is that you can often find potatoes on sale for $2. Or. Families existed on potatoes during the potato famine in Ireland. so only cook what you can use fairly soon. Lunch: Poke some holes in an unpeeled potato and microwave it for about 5 minutes. of course…). and tasty. by meal: Breakfast: Chop your cooked potatoes and fry them in butter to make tasty hash browns. If you're careful about what you put on them. boiled & quartered with butter or chicken broth. just get a good cookbook (at a yard sale or thrift store.POTATOES There are countless ways to cook with potatoes. I suggest using the imitation butter spray and / or powdered and flavored 'butter buds' that are available today. They'll only keep for a few days. Here are a few ideas. store then in a plastic storage bowl until you need them. slice your potatoes and fry in butter to make home fries. bag. especially at the start of a strenuous work day where you'll need extra energy. Top with chili and cheese or canned meat to make a filling quick meal.

The Irish knew this centuries ago. Dinner: One of the easiest and fastest ways to make spaghetti sauce is to use a can of chopped or whole tomatoes. Here are a few of my favorites: Breakfast.almost no fat or calories. or you're frequently on the road and fresh tomatoes just go bad on the shelf. starches and fillers that are common in the jars of sauce that most people use. But for busy people they can be an excellent. Yes. and many ethnic foods from around the world. fast alternative to fresh tomatoes – especially when you don't have time to shop. In the summer. Ever had a sliced tomato on the plate with your bacon & eggs? They're delicious anyway but you can add either salt or sugar for even more flavor. cans of tomatoes are typically a lot cheaper 106 . and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Pour on top of cooked pasta and you have a great Italian dish. I know – you purists are saying you'd never eat a tomato out of a can. Try a home-made Bacon Lettuce Tomato sandwich (BLT). add the tomatoes and a little salt and pepper. TOMATOES Why single out tomatoes as an ingredient? I'm also singling them out because they're the staple ingredient in Italian cooking. nothing is better than a fresh-picked tomato! Lunch. I like to sauté a little chopped garlic in olive oil. You're eliminating all of the additives. vegetarian cooking. Recipes: Get a cookbook to see any of the thousands of possibilities for tomatoes. and that is why it is the mainstay of their diet. and more value than just about any item in your grocery store. Slice them and add to a ham or turkey sandwich. In the south. They're easy to grow and relatively cheap to buy – especially the canned variety. fried green tomatoes are also a delicacy. more food volume. Chop them up and add them to an omelet or just eat a raw tomato with a little salt. and can make a baked potato seem almost decadent even as this filling and flavorful meal actually helps you lose weight! A large bag of potatoes has more nutrition. Plus.

and you'll probably pay less. and many of these small-batch tomatoes – while not commercially feasible to grow – are loaded in flavor. almost every vegetable out there… Buy whatever veggies are on sale. carrots. beets. the more taste it will have. To quote Rodney Dangerfield. They're also probably one of the most misunderstood of foods. Heirloom tomatoes are grown from seeds that are not currently in massproduction. potatoes. feel better. They’re one of nature’s best sources of lycopene. and other serious diseases. and enjoy meals more. Do you know the easiest way to cook fresh broccoli? Wash it off. There are hundreds if not thousands of varieties of tomatoes available. cover with plastic wrap. You can make hundreds of recipes using tomatoes as your base. The total time expenditure is about the same but buy the broccoli on sale. buy them.than the jars of sauce. So many people would rather rip open a bag of frozen broccoli than deal with stalks of fresh broccoli – presumably because they 'want to save time'. tastiest items you can buy in a store. fast cook as described above. the lighter the seasoning the better. strap a rubber band around the dish. a powerful antioxidant that may help your body’s natural defenses prevent cancer. add a little water. and the sooner you cook the tomato after picking from the vine. put the dish in a microwave. put it in a glass or Pyrex dish. And guess what: this same approach works for asparagus. "Man – who don't like spaghetti?" Tomatoes are packed with tons of nutrients and they have great natural flavor. Another tip: if you’re ever at a farmer’s market and you find heirloom tomatoes. VEGETABLES Fresh veggies are probably the healthiest. unique taste and nutrients. then cook on high for about 4 or 5 minutes. and your family will begin to eat healthier. I find that the less you cook tomatoes the better. You'll have perfectly steamed fresh broccoli that I GUARANTEE you will taste ten times better than the frozen stuff. heart disease. Here are some tips to win over the anti-veggie contingent in your household: 107 .

• Use plain yogurt and butter spray on baked potatoes.Wash / peel / chop the veggies. Even if you've avoided these low-fat products because they don't taste as good or work as well as butter on sandwiches or toast. you really don't have to add a lot more for most dishes). try the powdered butter substitute found in the spice section of your grocery. If you don't like this. . .• Spray some fat-free butter on the veggies before you nuke them. the bacon bits are a bargain. .Put into a big pot. Okay. you can always use regular butter or margarine. One major national drug store chain frequently issues coupons for spices at 3/$1. they're only 99¢ at the drug store. try them on veggies and you will be pleasantly surprised. as are the chocolate and rainbow ice-cream sprinkles. Mother Nature put an immense amount of flavor and subtle tastes into veggies to begin with. . as appropriate. If you're a bacon lover. 108 . especially when they're 3/$1. back to veggies… • Buy close-out veggies when they are available at your store and make a healthy soup or stew out of them. Of course. buy some of the dried bacon bits to sprinkle on as well.Tip 1: if the bacon bits are too hard on your teeth. (Hint: less is more when it comes to spicing up a veggie dish. but if you have kids you know that they go absolutely crazy for them and they're a big hit at birthday parties). (Yes. You won't be weighed down with all of the fat of sour cream and butter but the potato will taste great. The recipe is extremely simple: . I know the sprinkles are 100% refined sugar. nuke them in a small dish with a little water.Tip 2: look for these in the discount spice rack at your neighborhood drug store. but this will add useless calories and fat – especially the bad 'trans fats' – with little taste benefit. whereas the name-brand items can be $2-$3 at the grocery store. This is the 'zero calorie' spray that you find in the butter section. with some water and simple spices. While most of their spices are about 95% salt. Normally.Tip 3: Look for coupons for the spices in your Sunday paper.

The best time to do this is before you cook the food. SLOWLY add 109 . (Hint: do not add the flour directly to the mix. or freezing some for later. • For a little European flair. add some white or red wine to the dish. But there is a special reward in making a giant pot of delectable fresh vegetable soup for $2 or $3. you can feed your family like royalty for less than $5 – and often enjoy 2 or 3 meals out of it. add a little milk. sour cream. mix a little flour or corn starch with water in a cup. add fresh or canned tomatoes prior to cooking. • For a cream sauce. Of course. You can freeze soup in leftover plastic containers from yogurt. or it will turn to lumps and clumps of dough and powder. Be sure all of the flour is dissolved into solution BEFORE you add the mixture to the broth.. and in most cases that is all you'll find available. To reheat. and stir the mixture into the broth slowly. you can buy full-price fresh veggies. pork or lamb. to boot! • For a red sauce / French-style dish. and taste just as good – and sometimes better – than the first time around. but if you have cubed beef. consider making a big pot of soup or stew and serving it all week long. A good recipe is to sauté some onions in butter until soft. Example: make some 'roux' in the pot before you start cooking the veggies or veggie / meat combo. If you happen to find a LOT of veggies on sale. To thicken. If you have a breadmaker machine and make a loaf of homemade bread for about 50¢. then add some flour and spices to form a paste. etc. drizzle the mixture into the broth very slowly and keep stirring or the flour mixture can still turn into dough. Frozen soup or stew will keep for months.Cook for about a half hour (or about 5 minutes if using a pressure cooker. sour cream or plain yogurt near the end of the cooking cycle. Also. it just looks better when it's pre-seared. simply pop the giant ice cube of soup into a pot and heat slowly for 10 or 15 minutes.) • For meat dishes. it's advisable to pre-sear the meat in a little olive or vegetable oil first. The meat can cook along with the veggies (allow extra time). margarine.Serve and enjoy.) .

and are among the tastiest meals you will ever eat. This roux / wine combination will thicken your sauce and add some very intricate and interesting flavors. and make excellent dumplings right in the soup. just prior to serving. water. The same amount by weight of grated cheese will often be $1. I'll find the small blocks of cheese on sale for about $1. There is not a vegetable on this planet that cannot be cooked in hundreds of different ways. milk or yogurt to make a cream sauce out of your broth. You'll find that you can make some GREAT international dishes in no time at all if you learn a few basics such as this. Many Hungarian dishes such as goulash and Chicken Paprikash follow this process. salt and a little baking powder. cook some noodles separately and serve the soup over the noodles. and excite your family's taste buds. • For a totally mind-blowing culinary sensation. make a roux as described above and then when the dish is complete add sour cream. Consult any good cookbook to find out which spices to use with which veggies or veggie / meat combination.your wine to de-glaze the pan (all this means is that you loosen the sticky bits off the bottom of the pan and scrape everything into a consistent sauce). 'Recipe boredom' does not have to be an issue in your household. The variety of dishes you can cook for your family is endless. or just buy pre-made noodles if you're short of time. You can also make a paste out of flour. DAIRY Dairy is one area in which it can be difficult to cut costs – difficult but not impossible. • To stretch your soup / stew. Here are some tools and techniques: Cheese: Buy blocks of cheese and grate them at home.00. and in thousands of different combinations with different spices and sauces. You don't need a 'box mix' to add variety to your diet. rather than buying pre-grated cheese.99 or more – literally double the price! Granted. Often. You can make excellent fresh noodles using nothing more than flour and salt. if 110 . you need a 'recipe mix' to shake things up.

you store the cheese in plastic container for future use. Buy a half-gallon or gallon. Yes. Cheddar or Mozzarella. My local store regularly puts half gallons of milk on sale for $1. because they want their family to enjoy the finest quality. all parts of a chicken come from a chicken. so get the bargains whenever you can. Do the higher-price brands come from better breeds of cows? I don't think so. and you can really save. hand-grating a full block of cheese will take a lot of effort. Sure. People: two halves DO make a whole when it comes to milk. Most people grab the gallon container out of habit. you can buy them while they are on sale. Keep an open mind – and an open eye – when you're shopping for milk. Swiss. MEATS Most people avoid the lower-price cuts of meat. As long as you have a method of storing these items. But here's a secret: all beef comes from a cow. Sharp Cheddar or anything you'd like. and freeze what you don't need in the short-run. Then. but many of the lesser-priced cuts can be turned 111 . Another advantage of grating your own cheese is that you're not limited to American. And for you singles out there: never buy a pint of milk. you've wasted almost as much money as it would take you to buy a food processor and grate it at home. Colby. Prices these days can change from week to week. Always look for the lowest price brand when shopping.79. you're paying about a 150% markup over the larger sizes. Another thing that amazes me at the store is how size-specific people have become. while a full gallon container will be priced at $2.you don't have a food processor at home. How long does it take to grate cheese? It takes about 10 seconds. you can grate Monterrey Jack.00 each. using a food processor with a grater blade. Milk: It's funny how milk prices can vary so dramatically by brand. That is why I believe you should make every effort to get a food processor as soon as you can afford one – or get yours out of the attic and actually start using it. If you buy one bag of grated cheese per week for a full year. all the cuts are different and some cook up better than others. milk freezes and thaws out just fine… You can stock up on some FRESH items just like you stock up on canned goods. all pork comes from a pig.

etc. it takes time. if you're willing to rebag them.into excellent. including drumsticks. Often. here's what you're likely to find: Whole Chickens or 'fryers' Half or Quartered Chickens Specific-Section Packs. the higher the price you pay. But the difference in cost can be significant. The higher up this chain you buy. etc. all bonein breast sections. just look at the cost per pound of each variety. but this is simply not practical for many people. because they are there when you need them and they're easy to cook. It would be easy to preach that you should always buy whole chickens and cut them up as needed.Skinless / frozen Boneless Breasts . the lower down the chain you buy. Boneless Breasts . Bone-in Chicken Sections. A relatively inexpensive and handy choice is skinless / frozen breasts. all wings.Skin on Boneless Breasts . because you're paying a huge mark up for a few pennies' worth of spices. breasts with wings attached. thigh sections. Chicken To fully understand how the different cuts and packaging combinations of chicken affect price. the less you will pay. From lowest to highest price. It's all in the cooking process.Skinless / fresh Pre-Seasoned Breasts or Tenderloins Understand the 'preparation chain' of the food you buy. Or. It's messy. enjoyable meals. you can buy packages of fresh breasts on sale. I also recommend that you NEVER buy pre-seasoned meats. and freeze them individually for one-at-a-time use later. the difference in the preparation time of your meals is just a few short minutes. with all drumsticks. flavorful. 112 . and it's not particularly easy unless you learn how to do it. given the amount of time you can devote to cooking. What I DO recommend is staying as high up this list as possible. or a few pennies worth of seasoning.

Try that in an oven – you can't do it! Here's the recipe: 1. Replace the roast. the slower it needs to be cooked. This is a little metal plate that keeps the food away from the direct heat.Chicken can be cooked in a multitude of ways. you can cook a delicious pot roast in less than 1 hour's time – start to finish. hungry crowd. peeled vegetables such as potatoes. and look for the best value you can. Remove the roast and put the spacer in your pressure cooker. My favorite way to cook lesser cuts of beef is in a pressure cooker. and many ways to make tasty enjoyable meals using the lesser-priced cuts. etc. so there is no great secret to buying individual cuts. just buy what you prefer. For example. and surround with cleaned. celery. which you like. I make a casserole-sized chicken potpie for fraction of the cost of buying a store-made pie. I simply cook two or three chicken breasts in the pressure cooker. Start to finish takes about 30 to 45 minutes. onions. onions. it comes with your pressure cooker. carrots. and sear your roast on all sides for a minute or two. You'll also get great results if you cook it all day in a crockpot. Put this all into a casserole dish and top with a simple piecrust (takes just a minute to make with flour. Heat a little oil in the pressure cooker. based on how much cooking time and work you're willing to put in. You can add a can of tomatoes if you 113 . I add some carrots. and bake for about 15 minutes. you should definitely consider buying one – especially if you often find yourself short of time to cook. potatoes that I have cooked separately. salt and shortening). 2. Beef There are many different cuts of beef. Just about any cut of beef will come out tender and juicy if you slow cook it for about 3 hours at 250 degrees in the oven. If you don't have a pressure cooker. and then I thicken the remaining liquid with a little milk and some flour and water paste to make a cream sauce. Use whatever is in season and/or on sale. and it will please a huge. With a pressure cooker. Perhaps the best rule of thumb with non-ground cuts of beef is this: the cheaper the cut. 3.

They simply can't be beat as a kitchen helper. A little extra preparation time and changing your cooking methods can make these cuts of meat just as delicious as 114 . I would recommend cutting the meat into smaller chunks prior to cooking. drain it well after cooking. so there's no need to worry about your health. or cut up some fresh tomatoes. And if you don't drain away all the fat. I would strongly urge you to invest in a pressure cooker. If you are planning to cook and serve your roast immediately. Regarding chopped or ground beef. Add about 2 cups of water. Turn the heat off. guess where it will be going? You may find that the costlier ground beef will yield bigger burgers with less fat. 6. The longer you let the pot sit. you can place the cooker under running cold water to reduce the pressure immediately. so they're actually a better buy in the long run… Another way to tenderize cheaper cuts of beef is with meat tenderizer. But they can make a world of difference in the tenderness of your beef. The new types of tenderizer are NOT MSG-based. This way it will tenderize better. but leave the cooker on the burner. If you do buy cheaper ground beef. You can cook ANY type of meat in a pressure cooker this way. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. let the pressure go down naturally. 5.like a red sauce. If you want to serve your family hot. tasty home-cooked meals but find yourself challenged for time. Close the cooker and heat until the weight starts to rock. and it will always come out great. If you can't wait. I like to add chopped garlic. and you will have an incredibly tender roast. If you can. try it and see! You can lower your meat costs by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat and cooking them differently. But remember – the value you thought you were getting will be going to waste when you drain away all the fat. let the pot sit for an hour or longer. The cheaper ground beef contains the most fat. 4. which will be very evident when you cook it. salt and pepper. the more tender your beef will be. 7. 8. use your best dietary judgment rather than price to make shopping choices.

commercial pasta sauces typically have a lot of starch fillers. wash and save your leftover yogurt cups or pudding cups and freeze the sauce in them. Serve them over your choice of core ingredients (cooked pasta. the core element is chicken. noodles. rice. potatoes. if you're serving single portions. MARINARA SAUCE. you can make a better sauce 115 . For vegetarians. meats. Once you've mastered these sauces. With a little resourcefulness. healthy and flavorful meals. pork or lamb. Just put a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper on top before freezing. Here are some very simple. the secondary element is rice. or vegetables) and create gourmet meals that your family will love. and the variable element is the sauce or other seasoning additive. As mentioned earlier. Then. the core element is one or more vegetables.). If you family is bored with the food you cook. you can work out your own system without buying expensive storage containers. most meals consist of a base and a sauce. you can actually prepare these sauces in large quantities and store them in the freezer. Or. beef. You can pour your cooled sauce into quart-sized heavy-duty plastic kitchen bags and freeze. the secondary element is rice or other grains. and the variable element is the sauce or spices. etc. That is why it is important to develop as many different sauce or spice combinations as possible. you can serve them over any core element to make delicious. simply re-heat in a saucepan or in the microwave to serve. For meat-eaters. You could buy pre-made sauces. very tasty sauces that you can make in minutes. SAUCES: The Miracle Budget Stretcher When you get right down to it.the higher-priced cuts. you can keep your food costs low. If you are typically stressed for time. And by using core ingredients as the base (rice. spice things up: simple variations on the sauces you use to top your food can make meals new & exciting again. Variety is the spice of life. but they tend to be expensive and full of fillers and artificial ingredients. potatoes or other vegetables.

If you like. Melt a stick of REAL butter (margarine will NOT work for this one) in a saucepan over medium high heat. sauté some chopped onions or chopped green peppers as well. if available). and when they're almost done. For example. stirring occasionally. This is known in Italy as "Aglio et Oglio" and it is a classic. BROWNED BUTTER SAUCE. If you want a decadent meal that people will rave about. so you know it has to be good! Cook your noodles first. stirring constantly. When the butter 116 . but margarine will do). OLIVE OIL & GARLIC SAUCE. This will taste WAY better than those 'quick side' pouch meals. start with a small carton of heavy cream. Heat in a saucepan until it thickens slightly and then add your core ingredients. you can add a can of peas on some chopped ham. purists prefer chopping the garlic fresh. and you've got a great presentation. you can make a great sauce by melting some butter in a saucepan (real butter is best for sauces. Heat very briefly until garlic is barely cooked. It is said that Homer lived on this dish while writing The Iliad. Add a little Italian seasoning or basil (optional. this will work every time. MUSHROOM SAUCE. it's high on the cholesterol and fat content. Simply heat some olive oil in a saucepan and add chopped garlic (the jars of chopped garlic are easy and tasty. Yes. CREAM SAUCE. Top with chopped chives for color. Top with grated cheese. If your family likes mushrooms. fry some chopped garlic in a little olive oil. I find that kids like it better without any spices). then serve over cooked pasta. and heat for 15 to 30 minutes. When they are transparent but not browned. add a can of tomatoes (or fresh. This dish has been served for thousands of years – literally. The simplicity and powerful taste of this dish is amazing. but it does take extra time…).that is 100% natural by buying diced or pureed tomatoes and adding a few spices to your liking. adding mushrooms and a sprinkling of garlic powder or chopped garlic. To make a delicious marinara sauce. Serve over hot noodles and sprinkle on grated cheese. start on your sauce. but if your goal is to impress. Sautee for a few minutes and then serve over your core ingredients.

Reduce heat to low. Try sprinkling on some fresh ground black pepper for extra zest. but do not boil. YOGURT SAUCE. Parmesan.starts to burn. 2/3 cup sour cream and 1 teaspoon of salt.) The flavor of this dish will overwhelm you. add chopped cucumber (known as Raita in Indian cooking). You can use Pesto to add zing to soups. etc. Add a half cup grated Italian cheese and process a few minutes longer until smooth. This is an elegant sauce that turns any core ingredient into a gourmet treat. This one takes a little longer and a few more complex ingredients. 1 cup shelled walnuts (optional). Nothing is lighter or cleaner than fresh lemon juice. Heat through. a half cup of fresh parsley leaves. Simply add some parsley. and pour it over your noodles. remove the seeds. Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a saucepan. it really brings out the flavor of vegetables. or serve it on top of your core ingredients as the main sauce. Start with 3 to 4 cups of basil leaves. WHITE MUSHROOM SAUCE. PESTO. Add 2/3 cup of whipping cream and cook until slightly thickened. Here's a quick and easy sauce 117 . I recommend getting a small electric chopper to save time – and save your knuckles. This is an unusually pungent and tasty sauce. A cool and refreshing alternative to oil-based sauces is a simple and clean yogurt sauce. immediately take it off the stove. add 2 teaspoons white vinegar. LEMON JUICE. Pecorino. You can use any really hard cheese such as Asiago. stir and store. 2 to 4 cloves of garlic. (Grating a fresh block of hard cheese just prior to serving will make your dish much more flavorful than if you use the 'green cardboard shaker' cheese. Puree in a food processor for a minute or two until smooth. Top with grated hard cheese. and serve on top of your favorite core ingredients. For variety. stews and other recipes. Squeeze fresh lemons into a bowl. salt and half cup of oil (preferably extra-virgin olive oil). ideal for special occasions. 1 tsp. chopped chives and tarragon to plain yogurt. SOUR CREAM SAUCE. stirring constantly. Add additional oil until it forms a smooth paste. add 1 cup finely chopped green onions until transparent (but not brown).

broiled or 118 . (I find that the fresh-ground peanut butter. Remove from heat immediately and serve over pasta. ground cardamom. or just as a side sauce to flavor up any meal. ground cumin and 1 to 1-1/2 ¸tsp.) Stir in 1 clove of garlic. stirring constantly. Add salt (course or sea-salt preferred) to taste. Sautee in a half cup of melted butter until golden. but that takes extra work) over medium heat. Here's a decidedly elegant sauce you'll love as soon as you've tasted it.) Serve over barbecued. Remove from heat and puree in a blender with 2 cups of plain yogurt and a half cup of water. In India. Cook for 5 minutes. stirring constantly. they serve it over chicken and lamb. This sauce is a bit exotic. stirring constantly. 2 tsp. served as a dipping sauce. Top with grated cheese. ground red pepper. vegetables or any core item combination. Cook for 10 min. Remove from heat and cool at room temperature for 30 minutes or longer. Slice 1 lb. but it's also ideal just by itself over rice or with vegetables. Heat a half cup of chunky peanut butter in a saucepan. from India). buy the all-natural jar of peanut butter. Add more water slowly until sauce is the right consistency. Stir in a half cup white wine. Stir in 1 cup of heavy cream. Cook over low heat until the flavors are blended. Sautee 3 cups of finely chopped onions in 1 cup of olive oil (or clarified butter. 1 tsp. (Flavors blend best when sauce is cooled then reheated. 3 tsp. but once you get a craving for it. Pour back into sauce pan and cook until thickened. Add a dash of cayenne pepper. ALMOND CREAM SAUCE (Korma. but it's much better in the long run. ground fennel. then reheat prior to serving. fresh mushrooms (try an egg slicer). 1 tsp. is much better for cooking than the commercial brands. Stir in 1 cup of slivered or ground almonds. and gradually stir in a half cup of water and a half cup of canned coconut milk. more people are discovering that spicy peanut sauce is great on barbecued meats. Add salt and pepper to taste. In a clutch. 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley. SPICY PEANUT SAUCE. Fry until wilted and pale brown. 2 tsp. minced very fine. typically found in health-food stores. it will be a welcome change of pace on your dinner table. chopped fresh ginger.that is sure to impress. it will require stirring. Up for something different? As Thai cooking grows in popularity. Here's an easy way to make this sauce quickly. on medium heat. ground coriander. and add salt & pepper to taste.

Add chopped garlic. Garnish your dish with fresh cilantro. The Cajuns in Louisiana use this sauce on all types of seafood and sandwiches. you can make your own hot chili sauce in minutes.fried chicken. and cost next to nothing! REMOULADE SAUCE. plus 1 cup or more of dry sherry to taste. Start with 3 tbl. Drizzle slowly into sauce to thicken. if desired. finely-chopped ginger. HOT CHILI SAUCE. Add a dash of MSG for flavor-enhancement. olive oil and beat 119 .) Slowly add in 3 tblsp. most people prefer no MSG). Worcestershire sauce). name brand starts with a “D” and rhymes with turkey. buy the inexpensive bottles of red chili flakes at the drug store or 'dollar' store. a hlaf tsp. 1 tbl. sugar. Blend the tastes. Soy sauce. mix 3/4 cup ketchup. Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes and serve over your favorite core ingredients. Mix until blended. or your choice of core ingredient. mix 1 tsp. warm water. In a small jar. bean sauce (found in Chinese grocery stores). 3 tbl. Sesame oil and 1 tsp. To make hot oil. When using. of sugar. then store your cooled sauce in the refrigerator in a jar and heat in a saucepan prior to adding your core ingredients. (optional. Mix 1 cup of mayonnaise with 1/8 cup Famous Sauce (available at your store. 1 tbs. If you are cheap like me. minced ginger root and 2 tbl. cornstarch with a little water to form a liquid paste. If you like things on the hot side. then salt. half tsp. ginger. CHINESE IMPERIAL SAUCE. pepper and garlic powder to taste. Add 1 tsp. canola or any cooking oil you prefer). 1 tsp. use the oil only and not the peppers. a half tsp. hot chili paste. How do the Chinese make so many different dishes so quickly? The secret is their base sauces. Soy sauce. place a handful of dried red peppers in a jar and add oil (olive. vegetable. Simply mix the following in a saucepan: 3 tbl. In a small cup. Here's one that you can make in advance and serve over just about any core ingredient to make a tasty change-of-pace dish. They work great. salt & pepper to taste. CHINESE HOT SAUCE. 1 tbl. add 1 tbs dry sherry and a half cup chicken broth. Chinese black vinegar (or 1-1/2 tsp. Here's another basic Chinese sauce that you can use to make a range of different menu items. or more hot oil (see below). sugar.

In a small cup. ULTIMATE CREAM SAUCE. These are but a few of the many. white pepper and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. and you will find that you can create exciting and varied dishes in minutes – for meals that your family will savor and thank you for again and again! Big Idea Recap – Chapter 17 BIG IDEA 80: CHEAPEST can often mean BEST when it comes to food selections. ketchup. Whisk until blended. dried oregano and dried thyme. Heat on low for 5 minutes until blended. Add 3 tsp. 120 . MEUNIERE SAUCE. mix 2 tablespoons flour with a little hot water until dissolved. grated parmesan cheese and allow to melt. Add salt if desired. Pour over any core ingredient for a delightful meal. 1 tsp. many sauce recipes you can find in your favorite cookbooks or on the Internet. Bring to a simmer and then add 6 oz. the variety of sauces you can cook is unlimited. ideal over seafood. Blend in 2 tsp. Add a half cup hot milk and slowly blend in 1 pint sour cream. beating after each ingredient. This is also a Cajun recipe. Add 1 tsp. a dash of hot pepper sauce. Simmer until thickened. minced parsley. prepared horseradish. Blend the flour mixture into the melted butter until thickened. combine 3/4 cup Butter or margarine. 1/4 tsp. For sheer elegance. 1 tblsp. salt. and cooks very quickly. dry white wine. Add to your list of sauces. 3 tsp. nothing beats a complex cream sauce. In a small saucepan. lemon juice. Add 1 tsp. Creole or 'poupon' mustard and then mix again. 1/4 tsp. each of cayenne pepper. That's because the items that are in most abundant supply – and therefore the lowest in cost – are usually the freshest. Bring to a simmer. Add 1 can cream of mushroom soup and a half cup hot water. white pepper and 1/8 tsp. This recipe uses ingredients you probably have around the house. because they are being harvested now – not 6 months ago.vigorously. 2 tsp. chopped green onions. Worcestershire sauce. This is a spicy sauce that some people can't live without. As you can see. Melt a half stick butter in a saucepan. Louisiana hot sauce. 1 tsp. 3 tbsp.

You'll cut vast amounts of time out of your cooking procedures. so 'recipe boredom' does not have to be an issue in your household. The higher up this chain that you buy.BIG IDEA 81: Make a large quantity of your core ingredients. and each will be tasty and healthy for your family to eat. BIG IDEA 83: Tomatoes are packed with nutritional value and flavor. BIG IDEA 86: Understand the 'preparation chain' of the foods you buy. as long as you have a method of storing these items. and you'll eat fresh-cooked quality with every meal. so get the bargains whenever you can. the higher the price you will pay. the difference in the preparation time of your meals is just a few short minutes. more food volume. The Irish knew this centuries ago. A little extra preparation time and changing your cooking methods can make these cuts of meat just as delicious as the higher-priced cuts. spice things up: simple variations on the sauces you use to top your food 121 . That is why the Italians have been able to make thousands of individual recipes based off of this one vegetable. But the difference in cost can be significant. the less you will pay. and that is why it is the mainstay of their diet. BIG IDEA 82: A large bag of potatoes has more nutrition. you need to buy them while they are on sale. BIG IDEA 87: You can lower your meat costs by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat and cooking them differently. you need a 'recipe mix' to shake things up. If your family is bored with the food you cook. and store them in a way that you can reheat them quickly for individual meals. and excite your family's taste buds. You can make hundreds of recipes around the tomato. and in thousands of different combinations with different spices and sauces. Often. Prices these days can change from week to week. the lower down the chain that you buy. The variety of dishes you can cook for your family are endless. You don't need a 'box mix' to add variety to your diet. BIG IDEA 85: You can stock up on some FRESH items just like you stock up on canned goods. BIG IDEA 84: There is not a vegetable on this planet that cannot be cooked hundreds of different ways. BIG IDEA 88: Variety is the spice of life. and more value than just about any item in your grocery store. or a few pennies worth of seasoning.

And by using core ingredients as the base (rice. potatoes. you can keep your food costs low. noodles. etc.). 122 .can make meals new & exciting again.

and you can make a great daiquiri without paying for those high-priced frozen mixes. 123 . • Fruit juice is very healthy and delicious. and you'll lower the volume and weight of groceries that you have to truck back to your house. Your money will go a lot farther! • Iced tea by the can or by the jar of mixture can be expensive. and replace it with clean & fresh water out of your own tap. and serve in a glass with ice.00 or more at the burger joints. or if you just don't like them. You can make them at home using a blender. We use the sugar-free varieties. but they cost $1. You can also use this method to make summertime adult beverages – mix in a little fresh fruit and lemon or lime as well. Compare the cost of a half gallon of fresh orange juice to a can of frozen juice that makes a half gallon. that container of 'fresh' juice is actually factoryblended out of "FOJC". DRINKS • Brand-name soft drinks by the can are expensive. some ice. $2. • Kids love slushees. Tea bags are cheap! You can make fresh-brewed tea in the microwave in minutes and then add ice cubes and sweetener to make your own tea for less. It can often be almost 50% less in cost – and some frozen brands taste just as good as fresh. Avoid buying drinks that have the water added at the factory. And in many cases. because the kids get less 'wired' than with the sugar mixes. You'll avoid a huge mark-up. Choose the storebrand. as it's known on the commodities market (Fresh Orange Juice Concentrate. but it can also be very expensive.Chapter 18: Miscellaneous Cost Cutters Here are some random tips for saving money at the grocery store. liter or 2-liter sizes of the brand-name stuff.50. buy the quart.) What is at the core of any non-alcoholic drink? Water. and some pre-sweetened packet drink mix.

but instead of spending $20 or more on individual packets. • If you give your kids snacks for school. Does it make a difference? Well. You know. you’ve spent $6 plus another $2 or $3 in plastic supplies. and then the machine sucks out the air and seals the flap air-tight? They’re really not that expensive to purchase. The net result: one 5 lb. Now. fill it with your food. purchase can last for a full month. Let’s say that your kids just absolutely love those chocolate-coated candies. by weight. they cost about half as much. With one of these machines. but lower your total food bill. here’s the advantage. Plus. because they haven’t had to make any sacrifice. Market it as 'healthier-size portions' and people will pay the mark-up and be glad for it. than bagging the same portion yourself! PORTION CONTROL The marketing gurus at the food manufacturing companies have latched onto a great idea: package smaller amounts of their product in tiny packets. you’re saving $133 or more per year – and best of all you’re keeping the little ones happy. If you are super-diligent about this. AVOID THESE PRODUCTS. buy the large-size package and divvy the product out into small baggies yourself. and double or triple the cost of the item by weight. you can purchase one of those food-saver machines. you cut off a section of pouch material. You'll accomplish the same goal.COOKIES & SNACKS • The store brands of cookies are often as good if not better than the name brands. Those small pre-packs of snacks are about three to four times more expensive. because you're paying a wildly-inflated cost for the food inside those packets. melt one edge to seal it in the machine. If you want to implement portion control. if it’s an item you buy every month. but they’re very expensive – and the kids will overeat them if you buy the large economy size. use your own plastic bags and dish out a small portion of these items from a larger bag. you can individually package your own portions and lock them up in a storage closet. the ones that use a roll of plastic pouch material. 124 .

or log onto one of the many websites that show you how to make clone – copies of brand – name cleaning products yourself.. I found a huge bottle of orange spray cleaner – you know. Just do a web search on “homemade cleaning supplies” and you'll find dozens of sites offering recipes for cleaners that you can make for a fraction of the cost of the name-brand versions. you guessed it – a dollar! And the remarkable thing is. Does it somehow make you feel cheap? It shouldn’t. one web site lists a recipe for furniture polish that is made entirely out of olive oil and lemon juice. etc. Many of these items such as window-washing solution. can be made out of a combination of water. dishwasher soap. It should make you feel smarter. many of these items will actually be environmenally-friendly.. the need to clean. rubbing alcohol. So when you're buying household items like laundry detergent. You’ll find a treasure-trove of cleaning supplies at the dollar store for the remarkable price of. etc. They claim that most commercial polishes and sprays use silicone oil. This same type of product. ammonia. • Shop at the dollar stores. For example. You’ll find that many of the home-made products will actually be better for your home and for the environment. • Read the 'Hints from Heloise' column in your newspaper. etc. vinegar. this stuff won't go bad. and by buying big you won't be running out as often.79! So you’re reducing your cost by over 75% by purchasing at the cheapskate store. buy the big container and use a coupon. which can seep into the cracks in the wood and cause problems if you ever decide to refinish the wood. Imagine that – a cheap and effective product that does a better job than the high-priced sprays! 125 . oven cleaner. when purchased at the “oh so environmenally concious” earth-friendly store will cost you as much as $4. Their homemade version works just as well as the commercial stuff because the lemon juice dissolves the dirt and smudges on the surface while the olive oil shines and protects the wood.CLEANING SUPPLIES • One thing will never change. – saving you 70% to 80% off the cost of buying the brand-name stuff.. bathroom cleaner. the kind that uses citric acid as the main cleaning ingredient – and it only cost $1.. baking soda.

The program costs you nothing extra. based on the number of coupons that the school turns in for credit. you'll find these coupons on dozens of different products you buy every week. SUPER BARGAINS • Often you will find that your store is discontinuing an item. There are many people who could benefit from your shopping activities. Helping to provide a 126 . buy a bunch of everything and drive it out to the animal shelter or ASPCA. and will put it on sale for pennies on the dollar to clear it out quickly. With this program. And that brings up another very important point: saving money to help others. too – and their caretakers never get enough money or support to provide the animals with everything that’s needed. and they will certainly appreciate your thoughtfulness. You could collect enough over one year's time to provide $20 or $30 worth of educational supplies for your local schools. One of the best and largest grocery-related programs around is "Boxtops for Education" sponsored by General Mills.Make your own cleaning solutions and you can easily save $20 or $30 per month off your grocery bill. Help Your Community with Coupons – Even If You Won't Personally Benefit. Many of these home-made products actually work better than the store brands as well. Every town and city has a center that accepts food and household items for the poor. Since General Mills is such a large manufacturer and distributor of food products. Each one is worth about 10 cents towards school supplies or educational equipment. It helps local schools get free or discounted educational supplies. consider buying a few extras for the less fortunate. you simply clip the little coupon that is printed on the packaging and collect them. Just keep a plastic bag in your pantry or kitchen drawer and clip these coupons all year long – even if you don't have school-age kids. but the proceeds that your local schools can receive from it are huge. And if you happen to find pet food or pet supplies on close-out. When you see bargains like this. Our furry friends need help.

you're not using the system correctly. Value is not as important as providing the best quality for your family so price should not be your only motivation when shopping. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 18 BIG IDEA 89: Cut down on drinks that have water added at the factory. If you follow the methods outlined in this book. and the higherpriced item is definitely of better quality. Buy concentrated juices and powdered drinks. Spending less money on food does NOT mean you have to buy lower quality items. When you do see an incredible bargain on a particular item. Food banks collect canned goods and non-perishable items for distribution to hungry families throughout your area. and you and your family are too important to settle for second best. One immediate idea is to see if you have a Second Harvest or other food bank in your area. there are many other community groups that could benefit from the discounts and bargains you are able to achieve through proper shopping techniques. you can be a hero by purchasing one or two extra items and donating them to the food bank. If you see a clear-cut difference in the quality of an item. QUALITY • It needs to be said that nothing substitutes for good quality. Of course. You'll avoid a huge mark-up. what's the point? Life is too short. It's easy to enjoy BETTER food and pay LESS money if you follow the steps outlined in this book.better education for our children is something we can all be proud of. I would recommend buying a smaller portion of the better quality items and consuming less. It will be more enjoyable in the long run. Rather than sacrifice quality. chances are the item is well worth the price they are asking for. If you find yourself buying inferior products or lowering your standards in the quality of the food you buy. and you'll lower the volume and weight of groceries that you have to truck back to your house. you can enjoy the finest items in the store for a fraction of the everyday retail price. But if you find yourself buying inferior products just to save a few pennies. 127 .

BIG IDEA 93: Be an "angel" and participate in free programs such as "Boxtops for Education" that help others. get a food-saver machine and make air-tight pouches for longterm use. 128 . BIG IDEA 91: Make your own cleaning solutions and you can easily shave $20 or $30 per month off your grocery bill. Or simply buy extra nonperishable items when you see them on super-sale and donate them to your local foodbank. Use the tips in this book to buy top-quality products for less. Saving money does NOT have to equate to settling for less. or if you are especially resourceful. You can use plastic bags.BIG IDEA 90: If you want to provide portion-controlled servings. and therefore the quality of the products you purchase and use is also important. consider buying the large economy-size package of a product and doling out the portions yourself. Many of these homemade products can actually work better than the name brands! BIG IDEA 92: Quality of life is important. You'll help out your community and store up some good karma while you're at it.

Value – with a Cost. do not participate in their surveys. For instance.Chapter 19: Online Coupon Hunting If you have access to the Internet. it is clear that you are being profiled every step of the way. there are so many loopholes and 'trusted partners' who get your information. One site promises that your data remains safe. and your answers will become part of a compiled database file on the members of your household. Plus. But if you read their Privacy Policy. The site will ask you a wide range of personal questions about your household. You should be aware that many of these ‘free coupon’ sites are really consumer survey / information-gathering portals for the food manufacturing industry. you can print off as many as you like. you can get some great coupons online. Use the internet to your advantage BEFORE you go food shopping. if you find a coupon for a product your family uses a lot. You'll find dozens – if not HUNDREDS – of coupons that you can print immediately. and if you are concerned about privacy and "Big Brother" knowing too much about you and your family. and provide the minimum amount of answers required to get to the coupons on their site. one offer I came across was for chocolate powder that kids use to flavor their milk. The website asked for two answers prior to receiving 129 . Repeat this for all of the other main products you will be shopping for. and will not be shared with third party firms. A half-hour spent searching for coupons can easily reap $20 . Here is a trick: if you are required to answer questions about your usage of a product prior to your printing the coupon. If you need a coupon for peanut butter.$30 or more in savings. It's like having a part-time job that pays you $40 or $50 an hour. Be wary. always skew your answers in the direction the marketers are looking for. run a web search for "Peanut Butter Coupon". only you're not working: you're having fun.

ignore this if you find it confusing. How many of these instances involved the brand name featured in the coupon? I answered the maximum in each case. How do I know this? Recently. and I was quickly routed to a 'technical malfunction' page that said the coupon could not be printed at this time. How many times per week does your household use milk flavorings? 2. but you currently use a competing brand. I tend to be cynical. I went to my favorite online coupon site and saw a 40¢ coupon for this item on page 1 of the site. I thought it was an error. but it sure appeared to me that the food . two of my local stores had a namebrand line of potato mixes on BOGO. I entered my Zip Code to get the local offers. and guess what – the potato coupon reappeared! 130 Now. So when you encounter these 'surveys'. it was apparent that this was a major push to get people to try these products at the start of the fall/winter “hot food” season. you are almost certain to get the maximum value coupon available on the site that day. so I logged out and logged back in again. Guess what? No potato coupon was found! Just out of curiosity (and frantic to get my potato coupon) I logged in using a different browser (Internet Explorer instead of Firefox) so there would be no ‘cookies’ stored for my account.” I discovered something surprising about this. These are the box mixes of augratin or scalloped potatoes. Why do you suppose that would happen? Answer: they didn't want to cannibalize their profits from a current customer. This way.the coupon: 1. Just to see what would happen.) I logged in using a Zip Code from another state. It’s actually a ploy they use to REMOVE the coupons for items that are already on local promotion in your area. Here’s another trick: Some of these online sites will ask you to enter your Zip Code to find “local savings. (techie note only. Because the same offer was made at the two largest grocery chains. ALWAYS say that you are interested in the featured product and would like to try it. and the potato coupon disappeared from the list.

65 ($1. and unless you uncheck the requests on their pages. I was asked to review and “accept” or “skip” about 8 lengthy offers for insurance. On a recent visit. Here’s why: Normal price of item Cost per item using only the BOGO offer Cost per item using BOGO offer AND the doubled coupon $1. This site will make you work hard to get to the coupons – but it’s worth the effort. etc. CoolSavings.29 minus $0.com. The easiest way to do this is to “select all” and print. magazines. medicine. Here are some coupon sites to visit. or you will forever be inundated with emails and marketing offers.29 per box $0. Eversave.80 for 2 boxes) Of course.manufacturer didn’t want me using both the doubled coupon AND the BOGO offer.25 ($1. you will instantly be signed up for a wide array of offers.) Moral of the story: you may want to avoid asking for “local savings” coupons if you really want to save more money locally. Just be aware that they are partnered with dozens of information-compiling sites. But I know from experience that most stores ignore this request because they want to please the customer. But then the payoff was huge: 82 coupons were available to pick and choose. and some tips on getting the best coupon values on each site. so you can cut a stack of pages all at once and the coupons will all be trimmed out correctly! 131 .29 total for 2 boxes) $0. This site features about 20 to 30 coupons per week on all types of consumer products. the internet coupon was marked “Do Not Double”.com. They even put the coupons in the same position on each page. Read the fine print carefully and uncheck all offers before proceeding. they’ll typically double every coupon that is within their accepted value range (any coupon under 50¢ at my local store.

Here. personal and cleaning products and more. it displays the specific coupons available by category. plus you must install their printer drivers to print coupons. as well as the number of coupons currently available and the expiration date. so if your family is a big consumer of a particular item. Times.95 annual fee however. gourmet food items. you have to agree to complete a very lengthy survey and tell them everything about yourself – in great detail. on items that your family is very likely to want and use – items like popular cereal brands. You have to go through quite a bit of mumbo-jumbo before you ever get to the coupons. so you will be directed here from many other sites. etc. you don’t pay an annual fee. so you should be a very avid coupon user to cover the startup fee. Fees typically range from 5¢ to 15¢. I would recommend this site if you are buying for a community group such as your Boy Scout 132 . On this site.OnlineCoupons. then pay an additional $8. A good site to visit often! NOTE: this site is rebranded by local newspapers such as the L.50 fee to join. They offer a large number of coupons at very good price points. you can stock up on the specific coupon.com. the shopping cart changes the quantity to 5 – even if you only selected 1. the Baltimore Sun. You can order multiples of the same coupon. But overall. There is a $99. You select the coupons online and receive them in the mail within 7 to 10 business days. Coupons. you don’t have to do all that clipping… Clipngocoupons.com. The drawback is that you have to pay to save.25 to receive up to 50 coupons by return mail. This site requires you to register with minimal information. up until the expiration date of the coupon.com.com. you can plan your savings over time. Plus. Plus.com. CentsOff. but you do pay for each coupon. This site requires that you pay a $7. and that just kind of goes against the grain of true cheapskates. One annoying thing about this site is that on coupons that cost you 5¢. Thecouponclippers. and you get to choose by specific brand names.A. plus a 50¢ administration fee. This site is well organized. this site has a huge selection of coupons at very reasonable prices.. This site offers pre-clipped coupons.

however. value and guidance. many leading to the sites listed above. Plus. and all the rebates and coupons to make it happen at the lowest possible price. Thefrugalshopper. and see what you think. The food industry giants monitor this site. because you will regularly find responses from the PR departments of the big companies. with comments from people who have claimed them or have comments about the offer. This site uses a double opt-in validation process. You are required to provide specific household information to sign up. I was impressed at the high coupon values and diversity of local establishments participating on this site.com. so I really can’t toot my own horn. This is a great site for sharing coupon tips and techniques with people from across the country. You'll find 'hot deals' on coupons. We offer many links to the best savings of the week. MyClipper. when you plan to make multiple purchases of specific items over the long term.S.Troop or church social group. shopping. "FatWallet's mission is to serve consumers with knowledge.000 friends to ask advice from." GroceryDiscounts. they provide valuable information about what offers are good and not so good. too! Fatwallet. You are not the only consumer that wants to save money on groceries. so it may be disappointing if you are looking for printable grocery coupons. This site maintains a large number of links to coupon values. But visit it.us. As posted on their site.com. you can get valuable tips from hundreds of other value-conscious shoppers across the U. 133 .com for grocery discounts. especially when a consumer posts a complaint here. This is the author’s web site. etc. rebates and regional offers posted here.com. There are no grocery coupons on this site. Members of this site post information about hot deals and web sites where you can download coupons. but also some unique freestanding sites great for rebate-searching. entertainment. Plus. It's like having 230. The site simply links to EverSave. The site features a surprising number of local coupons that you can print out and redeem for discounts on dining. It means that you sign up on line and then you receive an email that you must respond to if you want to get to the online coupons.

you might just meet a kindred spirit on one of the blog sites. and make a new friend. Chances are. Join some of the ‘blogs’ (web logs) related to cost-cutting. Plus. 134 .Millions of people today have to count pennies to stay afloat. you’ll learn some great money-saving tips that you can use over and over again. BIG IDEA 95: Use the internet to capture tips & techniques from other shoppers. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 19 BIG IDEA 94: Use the internet to your advantage BEFORE you go food shopping. You'll find dozens – if not HUNDREDS – of coupons that you can print and redeem immediately. You can benefit from their experiences and wisdom by searching the internet and reading about their tips & techniques. and share your successes with other value-minded individuals. Knowledge = cash savings for you.

People's behavior in the grocery store is a mirror reflection of their attitude towards others. if you're waiting in line at the butcher or deli counter. Nothing is more frustrating that waiting behind someone who is stopped in the middle of the aisle. Here are a few ways you can become a more courteous shopper and make everyone's shopping experience more pleasant. Shelf Surfing.Chapter 20: Grocery Store Etiquette One thing to bear in mind as you implement these saving techniques we've discussed. So if you see someone lurking nearby. If you're taking a particularly long time to review the products on the shelf. Cart Courtesy. Okay. "Courtesy is only a thin veneer on the general selfishness". Similarly. two or more people will need the exact same item on the exact same shelf at the exact same time. As it often goes with Murphy's Law. Unfortunately you'll find this to be the case among the people sharing the aisles of your grocery store. and pull your cart off to the side before you get in the line. but you're going to get to know your local store pretty well. they're 135 . When you're not moving. you'll probably be blocking a few dozen shoppers during that time. It was Honore De Balzac who said. you might only be spending a little more time than you do already. be aware of where you left your cart. But you can demonstrate proper courtesy yourself and hope that some of it wears off on others. one way or another. is that you're definitely going to be spending more time at your local grocery store. If it's in the middle of the aisle and you'll probably be waiting in line for 5 minutes or longer. take a glance around every so often to see if anyone is waiting nearby. pull your cart over to the side of the aisle so others may pass. You can't teach a stranger what their mama was unable to many years ago. This certainly brings us to the issue of your fellow shoppers. Take a minute to think of other shoppers. and either doesn't know – or doesn't care – that other people are shopping in the store at the same time.

It’s important to mention that the cashier at your local grocery store is working to feed his or her family. it reflects poorly on her if she’s got a situation with an irate customer. Plus. Instead of. you can accept your error. But if you try to resolve the situation in the checkout line and hold the other shoppers up for 5 minutes or so.probably waiting for you to move. as will your cashier. apologize. put the blame on the computer and not on the poor cashier who is just doing his or her job. And. If you have a discrepancy on a price. 136 . needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway). Here’s another value-shopping tip for you: most stores have a ‘no error’ policy that will give you one of the sale item FREE if their system rings up the wrong price. the cashiers will have you pegged as a ‘problem customer’ which is not a good way to make friends or get preferential treatment when you shop. the cashier is NOT trying to rip you off. Cashier Courtesy. So give her a break. and simply walk away from the service counter. “oh oh – I think the scanner took the original price and not the sale price. Plus. “hey – you’re trying to rip me off!”. don’t jump down their throat: mention that there is an issue with the price that the scanner has entered. if you’re wrong. as well. It makes for a more pleasant exchange. they’ll never let you live it down. Your fellow shoppers will be very appreciative. okay? Wrong Price / Wrong Coupon. So make your choice and move on. like you and me. So your 5-minute excursion to the service counter could save you a few extra dollars.. If there is a huge line at your grocery store and the scanner simply won’t ring up the correct price or accept your coupon. If you’re certain that you are entitled to the lower price or the coupon redemption. trying to make it through their shift. don’t pitch a fit or blame the cashier: offer to fix it at the Customer Service counter after you check out. They’re not there to represent the ‘big bad grocery store chain’ or ‘big corporate food manufacturers’. take it up with a customer service representative after you finish paying for your groceries. Plus.. try. and she wants your shopping visit to be pleasant. she’s there to help you. So give them a break. Can we check the sale flyer to see if I’ve got the right item?” In other words. They’re just people.

Instead.Big Idea Recap – Chapter 20 BIG IDEA 96: If you notice a price discrepancy at the cash register. You may get one item free if the pricing error was caused by the store’s computer. it can pay to NOT mention it to cashier. walk over to the customer service counter after you’ve paid. 137 .

138 .

many 139 . you can purchase this same item for $3. The cashier asked me to always hand them the coupon at the same time they are scanning the free item. but purchase the rest of your weekly food needs at their regular store prices. you can get the price-saving advantage of shopping at ALL of the stores in your are. This makes it easier for the cashier to find the prices. This information can be used to your advantage in many ways. A good tip is to put those items LAST on the conveyor belt. so they don't have to search for the price.99 – all the while taking advantage of store “W’s” other low prices. They'll really appreciate your effort! Competitive Price-Matching. This one tip alone can shave $20 or $30 off your weekly food bill. But the fun – and the savings – don’t have to end there. and put the free and BOGO coupons FIRST on your stack of coupons. One of America’s largest discounters offers a unique value proposition. regular price $7.99. Let’s say. If you take store “A’s” flyer to store “W”.99 but this week it’s on sale for $3. Let’s call them store “W” and affectionately nickname them “Wally World. at the same time you are saving money using the tips and techniques found in this book. A cashier recently told me something about the processing of 'free' and 'BOGO' coupons. for example. You can also take flyers from store “B” and from store “C” and “D” into store “W”. The bad news is. Free & BOGO Coupon Presentment Order. In other words. Store “A” has the goal of getting you to come in for that one bargain. This may be one of the only loss-leaders they advertise for the week.Chapter 21: Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips Here are some ways to save time at the grocery store.” This particular store will match their competitor’s advertised sale price on the exact same item. that store “A” has put the large size of laundry detergent on sale. There are many coupons that offer an item for free but they also indicate that the cashier must write the purchase price on the coupon. but you won’t have to burn up your valuable time and gasoline to visit these stores.

But you're relaxed and taking your time at 8 a. but they are the best bargains for that day in that store. You're probably a wiz at the 'self-scan' aisle and know how to shave minutes off your trip. It only takes an extra two or three minutes to pick them up. they don't know any other way. but it can be very costly if you don't time to shop for bargains or take advantage of the in-store sales on that particular day. I find it very beneficial to scan the grocery flyer from my local store. All this is great. Paying full retail for food is a bad habit. many times the net cost of items at store “W” are lower with single-value redemption on coupons that they are at competing stores with double-value redemption. You're in a huge rush at 4 p. I run by and pick up those three or four sale items that I have coupons for. The secret to accomplishing BOTH of these goals is to do a little pre-planning.m. and it's one that 90% of all shoppers fall into. I may find only three or four coupons. You’ll just have to do the math yourself to decide which stores in your area offer the best final-cost pricing on the items you need. when you're reading the Sunday paper. Speed Shopping. when you need those three or four items.m. you will consistently find yourself paying less for food because you have changed the way you shop. If you habitually follow even a few of these money-saving tips. but when I'm breezing in to Acme for my 10-minute kamikaze shopping blitz. and then I do a quick perusal of my grocery coupon envelopes to see if I have matching coupons. And honestly. In time. Now. i. I locate the sale items. If you only need three or four items to complete your meal on a Sunday afternoon. Most of the time. I’m not suggesting that you ONLY buy the price-match items at store “W. I pull out the coupons and place them in the envelope I've got named specifically for that store. "Acme Grocery".stores like store “W” do not double your coupon’s value. you probably want to breeze in and breeze out of the grocery store.e. 140 . Make Saving a Habit. when I would have otherwise experienced savings of probably 0% had I not taken the extra few minutes to scarf up these values.” That wouldn’t be fair to them. The net result: I experience savings of 40% or 50% on my total order that day. you will save money on food.

So it was well worth my time to complain. I recently bought a juice item for my kids. or even just a few square feet on the side of your driveway.Never Settle for Poor Quality. it's nothing like that. return it to the store for a new one. he spit it out. I know what you're thinking: I barely have time to zip through the grocery store. write a quick letter to the manufacturer and tell them so. or just not be usable. to take things out of the recycling bin? No! You are doing better than recycling – you are re-using!). Now you're asking me to put on bib overalls and farm the back 40? What are you. The manufacturer wrote me back and send me three $1. If you like gourmet cooking. you can cook them up in a pressure cooker and make a delicious soup in less than an hour. you will purchase an item that will either have gone bad. If you have a patio or deck. Once in a blue moon. you can grow your own tomatoes or green beans and save lots of money on fresh vegetables. taste horrible.00 off coupons for their other products. and they all spit it out. thyme. So if you pick up a bag of mixed vegetables for $1 or $2. actually. cilantro. Every grocery store has vegetables that are reaching their peak and must be sold quickly. CRAZY??? No. because my personal focus group is pretty reliably when it comes to evaluating kid's foods. You might be surprised at how easy it is to grow your own herbs and save on the cost of buying them fresh. Try it. Turn this to your advantage. Start a Soup Night. If the item is in fine condition but you just think it's nasty-tasting. Grow Your Own Vegetables and Herbs. So I wrote a note to the manufacturer and told them that they needed to reformulate or at least re-think the product. Even their friend who weighs 300 lbs and regularly cleans out my refrigerator of all leftovers. nothing is better than fresh basil. Tomatoes grow very well in a large bucket – and you can often find the large 5-gallon plastic pails thrown away behind restaurants or in the recycling bin. the grocers expect a certain amount of 'breakage' as it's known in the trade. You can also find meat that is expiring and on-sale 141 . – and these grow very well in small pots that you can put on a window sill. If it's defective. parsley. and use them to make a pot of soup! Monday's are good days for grocery stores to clear out their leftover inventory from the weekend. (Is that unethical. etc. Okay.

That's up to $360 savings per year – plus you'll eat better and tastier meals. you will see a consistent and ongoing reduction in your net cost of food. write letters: you'll get satisfaction in the end – and probably save a few extra bucks as well.for fi the price or less. BIG IDEA 101: Bargain meats and vegetables are still very edible and nutritious. BIG IDEA 99: You never have to pay for items that truly are unusable. If they're defective. you will habitually save on food. that is still absolutely fresh and good to eat that day but must be sold by the store before midnight to comply with basic regulations. Bake a loaf of fresh bread the night before. 142 . BIG IDEA 98: If you get in the habit of ALWAYS picking up a bargain or two EVERY TIME you visit the grocery store. BIG IDEA 100: A few minutes per day invested in growing your own vegetables and herbs can easily save you $20 or $30 per month. By taking the other store’s sales flyers into the big-box store. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 21 BIG IDEA 97: Some big-box grocers offer to match competitive store’s sales prices. using your breadmaker. If they're just poorly made or you are completely dissatisfied with them. If you make bargain-grabbing a habit. you can enjoy the best values from every store in your area. welcome meal that your family will love and look forward to every week. without the added cost or time of actually driving to all of these stores. Take advantage and cook it all up together with a few spices. It makes a terrific dinner. the store couldn't sell them if they weren't. get your money back or get a replacement. By learning how to prepare these items quickly. you can not only save money – you can prepare them into a delicious. and you have a gourmet treat that's easy on the budget as well.

and your piggybanks remain full! 143 . May your coupon-cutting scissors remain sharp. You can feed your family for less and enjoy nutritious. I hope that the ideas presented here have given you a new outlook on food and cooking in general.Closing Notes Well. and you don't have to pay top dollar to get the finest groceries available in the store. regardless of how time-challenged you are. You don't have to settle for second best. Good shopping to you all. delicious meals that can improve their health and you can save lots of money in the process. there you have it. You can shop quickly and efficiently.

National Brand Qualifier 144 .GLOSSARY Guide to refunding and couponing terms : Blinkies .National Brand NBQ . usually has a red border C/O .Free Standing inserts.In search of LTD .The health and beauty aid section in the grocery store HDA .Refunds that require only a UPC# written on a CRT Coufund .coupon dispensed at register after purchase. address.Dated cash register tape with the price circled DND .Name. HBA .Manufacturer MFR .cents off coupon Codes .Premiums that require money in addition to a proof of purchase NAZ .Buy one get one free Catalina . as on a refund form it will say you're limited to a certain number of purchases MFG .instore smartsource coupon dispensed near product.coupon that a grocery store doubles in value Free Item Coupon .Cash register tape DCRT.Manufacturer Money + .Hang tags for refunds or coupons hanging on a product HTH .Limited.Hope this helps ISO .manufacturer's coupons CRT .Hot Deal Alert or Home Delivered Ad HT or HgT.Dated cash register tape DCRTC .Do Not Double (the coupon is not supposed to be doubled) Double coupon .A coupon that allows you to get the product completely free FSI . usually from red blinking box BOGO or B1G1 . zip code NB . Also referred to as SS coupons or insert coupons. These are the actual term to the coupons you get in your Sunday newspaper.for coupons that need some proof of purchase such as UPC's attached Cpns .

Universal Product Code WSL .net weight OAS .coupons that are doubled $1 + in value (ie.Store form SMP .specially marked packages SS .NED . any size OSI .a coupon that is good on one purchase. a $1 coupon = $2. etc) SWEEPS .sweepstakes form Tear pad .Try Me Free Triple coupon .No expiration date Nfp .A pad of refund forms found hanging from a store shelf or display TMF .proof of purchase PP .purchase price PPHF .refund form found in a newspaper NT WT .Your Mileage May Vary (Success of offer is variable.) 145 .On a single item POP .Random act of kindness SF .a coupon that a grocery store triples in value UPC .Paypal handling fee Q or Qualifier.Sunday supplement coupons (FSI) Super doubles .The POP required for a refund offer that is physically taken from that package RAOK .while supplies last YMMV .

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Inside the pages of “Better Groceries for Less Cash” you will quickly learn and master the simple techniques of value buying. Selecting core ingredients rather than paying for high-priced ‘pre-mixed’ items THINKING LIKE A MARKETER.40% . Discover the system that can save you 30% . You can shop smarter even if you’re always in a hurry LEVERAGE.500 in savings per year! And if you’re spending $200 or $300 per week – you can easily save $3. That’s at least $1. How to think like a chef to get the best shopping values on any given day SYSTEMATIC SAVINGS. Understanding how to leverage the grocery manufacturer’s promotional cycles AISLE MASTERY.000 to $5. This is real money that you can bankroll to make life-changing differences in your family’s lives. His clients have included many of the nation’s largest manufacturers. You will learn how to completely re-shape your approach to food. within days of reading this book you can start saving a minimum of $30 per week – all while eating tastier and more nutritious meals. You will learn the inside secrets that the food industry doesn’t want you to know – and how you can harness that knowledge to beat them at their own game.even 50% or more on groceries TAKING SIMPLE STEPS. . If you’ve tried ‘skimping’ on quality or selection just to lower your costs. and Allied Graphic Arts. 101 simple action steps that you can learn in minutes If your family spends $100 or more on food per week. this book will show you how easy it is to actually IMPROVE your menu and INCREASE meal satisfaction – all while PAYING LESS CASH each week for groceries. How to use coupon doubling and store promotions to maximize savings STAYING IN SEASON.THIS DEFINITIVE GUIDE to saving money on groceries is a godsend to families who struggle to make ends meet. and develop lifelong money-saving habits such as: MAKING BETTER CHOICES.000 per year. FKB Group PLC. Your family will love the results – and so will your budget! RANDALL PUTALA is a career advertising executive that has worked for some of America’s largest agencies including BBDO. retailers and financial institutions. a non-profit foundation dedicated to solving the world hunger crisis. Buying the best for less than the ‘off brands’ SMARTER COOKING. Putala is also the founding director of World Hunger Team.

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